Falling into a New Project: Romance for a Reason, part 1

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With August upon me, I’m
gearing up for fall. Yes, I actually just said that. Yes, as a sun-worshipping,
deck-loving author clinging to her last few weeks of full-time writing, it was
painful. It is also exciting, because this fall I’m doing something special
that’s been in the works for almost a year.

Early last fall I began
drafting a new project. I was stuck in a rut writing my third novel, but my
imagination was still very much entrenched in the world of Alex Crocker. I was
constantly creating backstories for characters new and old in my series,
backstories that I felt ought to be told, but that had no proper place in the
main story arc. I was also coming off a summer of reading spicy romance novels.
I’d finally admitted I was that type of woman who loved a story so steamy it
fogged up her glasses. (This was pre-Lasik.) More than reading them, I realized
I wanted to try my hand at writing them. The result is Unbridled.

At first I simply set out
to write short stories about three couples in my series other than Alex and
Markus. I was aiming only for romance. The emotions surrounding love,
especially love in a world with deadly enemies around every corner, seemed like
plenty for a writer to capture. Soon though I was connecting these tales with a
fourth story, one that illuminated what linked the ladies in these tales:
strength and survival. I was no longer just writing about females falling for
hot alpha-males who’d sweep in and save the day. I was writing about the
strength of a gender so often inaccurately depicted as needing such saviors. My
heroines sought lovers whose tenacity matched their own, not mates who merely
made up for their inadequacies. I was writing feminist romance with fangs—and
loving it.

On the surface, writing
romance, a genre teeming with bodice-ripping covers, domineering men, and far
too many weak-kneed female characters might not seem like the ideal medium for
aiding women. Art in its various modes, though, has always been a powerful
means of getting people to reevaluate their views on real-life issues. If
straying from some of the norms of a genre highly entertaining, but not always
promoting a positive view of women prods us to think a little deeper about the
qualities we really desire in ourselves and our partners, then mission
accomplished. Who said there couldn’t be a love scene or two helping that
along? Not this girl.

This idea was the seed
that began Romance for a Reason, a fundraising effort I’m planning for this
fall to help women’s issues near and dear to my heart. In part two of this post,
which will be up tomorrow morning, I’ll share more about the two impactful
charities I’ve chosen and my reasons for picking each.


In the meantime, here’s a peek at the “back of book blurb”: 

Unbridled 

“Think Law and Order SUV meets The Breakfast Club” was Ellie’s trite
explanation of what Alex had been dragged into. Add a few fangs, Fifty Shades of Oversharing, and a dash
of Dr. Phil, and she was in for quite a Thursday night.

Alex couldn’t deny she had
become the pint-sized poster child for PTSD lately, but she didn’t exactly
expect to find a support group for teachers turned vampire chew toys in
Bristol, MA. Listening to the tales of the four other females gathered to help
her heal, however, she accepts that perhaps both the worst and the best of life
can blossom from the unexpected.


Unbridled is a novella-length collection of four connected
stories focusing on the unlikely friendships and less likely lovers of the
female characters from the Alex Crocker series.

Proceeds from the sale of
these stories are being donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and
V-Day. See the author’s website for more information: www.laurengrimley.com


From the three main stories: 

“Grace and Dignity”

Even a female whose mating
has been arranged most of her life still thinks about what she wants in a mate.
Not one of the qualities Sarah had hoped for were easily evident in her
betrothed, the future Regan of the Rectinatti coven. Perhaps, though, there
were more layers to Darian than he liked to reveal, but how does a subject
unmask a prince?


“Rules and Recollections”

You can’t fall in love
with someone you barely recall, but that, Vivian supposed, was the point. After
a terse meeting with the Knower, a mind reader, memory manipulator, and the
coven’s most notorious lecher, Vivian isn’t herself. She can’t shake the
feeling that the solution to her mood lurks just below the surface of her
consciousness. Only plunging into darkness, though, will bring everything to
light.

“Blood and Secrecy”

The shared need for blood
brought them together, but individual desires for secrecy are keeping them
apart. Each already left behind a life of privilege for reasons the other
likely couldn’t understand. Now both Rocky and Ellie need to decide if they’re
willing to open up about their pasts in order to ensure a future.

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