All posts by theadevine

You’ve Got To Have Friends

Hi everyone. Thea, home from National where I didn’t attend as many workshops as I should have. But that gave me the opportunity to catch up with several old friends whom I only see once a year, briefly, and on the run between workshops.

I’m still trying to figure out this friendship phenomenon: that there are people you meet and connect with at conference, and you only see them once a year, and yet, it’s like you’ve seen them often and so only need five minutes or fifteen or a half hour to get updated, and off you go, looking forward to seeing them again next year.

And then there are the more profound friendships that last for decades, friends you depend on in moments of author and personal crisis. Friends in whom you confide your problems and your deepest dreams. Friends you talk to every week, or every other day because you bolster each other, lift each other’s spirits, push each other to go further, do more, not quit, and ultimately succeed.

Each of those friendships is treasured and nurtured because we’re a part of this amazing community of romance authors and the comfort of that cocoon of others, whom we’ve grown to love, sharing that experience sustains us and pushes us to keep moving, keep hoping, keep reaching.

It’s beyond a blessing. I can’t imagine my life without my friends, without their counsel, support, friendship and love, and seeing them yearly at conference, monthly at RWA meetings, talking weekly on the phone carries me forward in ways impossible to define, but which enriches my life beyond any other friendships I’ve ever known.

What about your writer friendships? Are they fresh and new, or of long-standing and can’t-live-without?

Thea Devine is the author of more than two dozen historical and contemporary erotic romances. Beyond the Night, the sequel to The Darkest Heart will be an October 2014 Pocket Star release.

What Do You Watch?

It’s late, it’s raining, thundering and lightning. The house is dark except for the TV and the pendant lights in the kitchen. It’s kind of eerie — the silence, the TV, the dark, the sudden crack of thunder now and again, the flick of a brown-out.

I’m watching the news for want of something to watch since none of my favorite shows are on tonight. I wonder what other people are watching in this summer season when we are being peppered with a barrage of next-new-must-see TV shows. I wonder what our choices say about us, and especially because we’re writers, I think it’s necessary we do watch TV for all these shows can teach us about story, arcs and characterization.

I get teased in my house for watching Pretty Little Liars, but I’m fascinated by the continuing mystery and the peeling away layer after layer as the Liars cope with all the consequences of their lies. Vampire Diaries lost me after a while. I’m watching Arrow, The Hundred, The Last Ship, The Leftovers, Under the Dome. I will watch Extant, and Newsroom, Downtown Abbey and Homeland (when they return).

I wish I’d watched Revolution and Falling Skies. I will catch up on NY Med and Turn. Ongoing favorites include Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Criminal Minds. I peek into Undercover Boss now and again. We don’t subscribe to Netflix. Yet.

I love shows whose characters are “family” — you could argue most shows have a core “family,” even if there is no family. I love mystery and suspense. I love ghost stories and gothics, but most of all, I love romance. So you can find me on weekends glued to the Hallmark Channel (especially during Christmas).

You will notice I’m not watching comedies (exception: Big Bang Theory). Or any of the major reality shows. Dramas are enough reality for me these days. And my own life. I’m just excited there are so many good new shows with such terrific writing. It takes nothing away from my own
writing to spend time watching these. I constantly look to find lessons there for us all.

What do you watch on TV? Do you think it reflects who you are? Any guilty pleasures?

Thea Devine is the author of more than two dozen novels. Beyond the Night, the sequel to The Darkest Heart, will be published October 2014 as a Pocket Star eBook.

Let It Go

Thea here in this season of graduations, retirements and tag sales, sitting in my house that looks like we’re perennially moving in.  This is the first time I’ve ever thought, everything’s got to go.  The big stuff, the stuff we’ve collected or inherited from our parents.  The stuff I’m not sure my sons will really want.  Things I want them to keep forever.

Because everything has story:  my husband grew up with this item; his parents collected that stuff on the Cape in the 1950’s;  they bought that painting from a local artist there; and brass bed at an auction in Maine.  Things that my husband is loath to let go.   On my side, there wasn’t quite as much of value, but  among the things I kept were the living room lamps from my parent’s first apartment. I remember that apartment vividly even though I was only four or five at the time.

The lamps sat on two tall side tables flanking a camelback sofa.  There was a large framed print over the sofa of a medieval farm scene, and the lamps, perhaps hand-painted, echo that theme.  They’re tall and urn-shaped, with a little curly-cue on each side.  Those curls reminded me of my mother’s very curly hair.  I remember playing with those curly-cues when I was very young.  And because of that I can’t bear to get rid of the lamps even though they don’t fit anywhere in our house.

Or maybe there’s a different reason for my reluctance, and that is in letting go of those objects we are in some respect erasing our story, our past and our present both.  Because what will our sons do with all we’ve assiduously collected?  The books and paintings we’ve loved.  The Eastlake dresser that was one of first things we bought after we got married.  The painted sleigh bed.  The antique dishes.

There’s a memory. a story behind each of those things.  And in them, the story of our lives together.  We’ll be married 48 years this month, and will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the night we met in September.  How do I let it go?

And how do I let go the memory of that little girl playing with the decorations on those lamps because they looked so much like her mother’s curly hair?

Are you clearing out and paring down?  How do you handle it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Procrastinator

Thea here, confessing I’m a world class procrastinator. I am distracted at the drop of a syllable, generally by bright and glittery things — like the tv screen.. I don’t know how I get things done.

I only know I have this interior war everyday about what NEEDS to be done, which is: do I write vs do I clean, and since writing is so much fun and I feel so guilty, I lean toward cleaning. But then, cleaning is such a chore and takes me away from writing … so I find reasons to avoid doing that.

Generally, when I’m on deadline, I can with good conscience clear the decks and drive everyone nuts in service of my finishing The Book. I recognize that this is NOt a healthy work habit. I’ve been analyzing my incessant complaints about how I never have time to do anything.

My Mom always used to ask, who’s stopping you?

There’s a rock hard question to stop you in your tracks. How do you explain to a not-writer? The dishes are piling up. The laundry needs to be done. I have to write. Mom would then say, so — load the dishwasher, do the laundry and write.

She just didn’t understand.

I need that time not to do dishes, laundry, writing. And I haven’t read a book in months. I watch too much tv. I’ve become an expert at manipulating my husband and son into the kitchen to make dinner. The day doesn’t have enough hours for me to avoid chores and writing.

Right now, I’m working on revisions for Beyond the Night, the long-awaited sequel to The Darkest Heart.. I promise you, I’m doing them in a timely manner. After I watch Kathie Lee and Hoda. After I procrastinate a couple of hours over this post … By noon. After lunch. Promise.

Anyone else a procrastinator? What’s your excuse?

Thea Devine is the author of over two dozen erotic historical and contemporary romances. Beyond the Night, the sequel to The Darkest Heart will be a September 2014 eBook release from Pocket Star.

HOW FAR THE BAR?

Greetings, everyone. Thea here today. This past weekend I had the pleasure of speaking at t CTRWA March meeting about writing erotic romance from my perspective. Which admittedly goes back at least twenty years, when one of my historical romances, Beyond Desire, was the first romance to be reviewed as erotic romance — a totally new designation at the time. And not one that publishers jumped on either.

That took the publication of the anthology, Captivated, in 1999. Labelled “tales of erotic romance,” it flew onto the USAToday bestseller list in no time. And even then, the industry sat back and watched as the follow-up anthology, Fascinated, zipped onto USAToday as well.

There were constraints at the time as to what terms you could use, what body parts you could name, how far you could go.

Twenty years later, 50 Shades changed everything.

Now everything is on the table (and in the bed) as far as combinations and sex — front, back, side, upside down, inside out, casual, meaningful, manacled, chained, blindfolded, whipped, flipped, one night stands, one day, one hour get it on and get off, no commitment, scratch the itch and over you go.

So now that there are readers for every sexual taste, where’s your line? How far will you go? You could push the bar even further — male/male, female/ female, triads, quadrads, and any multiple combination of that; bestiality, hard core bondage/domination/punishment, corset discipline, flogging, gagging, needle play, fire play … .

And so my question to you, which I asked at the meeting as well, is — do you feel the need to compete with 50 Shades? To push further? To define the bar rather than straddle it? To be the one to make waves? Or you do have your own strict won’t-go-there parameters?

Thea Devine’s books defined erotic historical romance. She’s the author of 27 historical and contemporary erotic romances and a dozen novellas. Look for “Beyond the Night”, the sequel to “The Darkest Heart,” to be released as a Pocket Star eBook, fall 2014.

What Were You Writing When

Hi everyone. Thea today, thinking about the past. I mean, what did I write about before romance? It seems to me I always loved romance, even in the biggest blockbuster male dominated best-sellers back when. As I’ve mentioned before, reading Nancy Drew got me started writing — about intrepid girl sleuths.

But then, around high school, I started writing about family (my grandmother who truly believed there was a Jewish tube in the radio by which shows in Yiddish were broadcast); the choir — and what I intuited at age seventeen in that fiction; in college, I wrote all about my friends and acquaintances. And finally, grown-up sensual romance and one historical romance I still haven’t finished.

I still have some of the writing I did back then. I think I’ve mentioned that I can see in it vestiges of the way I write now. I kept it, not as a souvenir of my journey, but because I’m a pack rat.

But I love being able to track where I came from to where I am now.

I suppose we all have a path to take before we find that sweet spot in writing that feels like the right fit. Did you? Or did d you always know? Or did you try on several genres? Was there an “aha” moment.

Look for Thea Devine’s sequel to The Darkest Heart, a September 2014 Pocket Star eBook.

Take Two Tablets & Call Me …

Happy New Year everyone. Thea Devine here today and this is a rant.

I’ve never felt a particular urgency to own a tablet. I mean, I’ve kind of wanted one but not to the extent that I’d talked about it a lot. I figured sometime in the future — you know, as a reward for finishing a book or something –I’d get one.

This Christmas was the day. A tablet was one of John’s presents to me. I was speechless. But not for long. I was so intimidated it took me two days to get up the nerve to open the darned box — the deep box that said it held all the answers.

The tablet lay in its own bed. When you remove that, you find the plug and transformer and a small square of paper that tells you to “press start.”

That’s it. It assumes you know where “start” is. Okay, it’s not that hard to figure out, but still — the rest is silence. I am not intuitive girl. If it’s not immediately obvious, I freak out (figuring I’ve destroyed something critical). I hate passwords and the device required at least four and then I couldn’t figure out which to use where, which got me totally tied up until I was told Siri wasn’t working and I needed to get on the internet.

I stopped right there. This was no fun. This was generational. I knew everybody else in the world had already easily figured out everything about the device — it’s a best-selling item, for Pete’s sake. My two year old grandson probably would have had the thing going in no time. He already knows how to scroll. Half the battle right there.

Well, they just have to label these devices — for millenials who know everything and for technologically inept pre baby boomers — including reams of paper explaining things.

I did ask John to promise not to divorce me if I wanted to return the tablet and exchange it for a different device. He said he wouldn’t, but I’ve caught him looking at me speculatively now and again.

I exchanged the tablet for a laptop whose screen detaches to become a tablet (made sense to me). I don’t entirely get it yet, but it is at least a little less opaque. It’s those colorful tiles on the home screen. And the swiping thing. I really like that.

And it came with a diagram with all the connectors highlighted and instructions on how . That’s all I needed. A little hand-holding. Some understanding and guidance. And a couple of aspirin tablets on the side.

Have you ever been frustrated with a device? Or are they an open book to you?

Thea Devine is the author of twenty-seven erotic historical and contemporary romances and a dozen novellas. She’s currently working on an erotic contemporary romance.