Guest blog: Paperback Dolls – Passport China

The Paperback Dolls blog asked me to do a guest post for their Passport China feature. I love the look of their blog, especially the manga-esque avatars they have for each of their members.

Click on over to hear more the special version of Old China where my stories take place: Once Upon a Time in China

Also giving away a copy of BUTTERFLY SWORDS and talking a little bit about the sequel, THE DRAGON AND THE PEARL, which is out September 20, 2011.


Go big or go home, they say

I’ve been tossing around what to do next and my CP helped me find my way — which is why it’s important to have partners that are good at the things you suck at. For me it’s coming up with ideas and where to put commas.

So I wondered if I should leave medieval China, try something else. Something maybe more “marketable” in case this China thing doesn’t work. But I just couldn’t. So if anything, I’m going deeper into the wuxia genre that inspired me by adding paranormal elements.

It’s quite exciting! The supernatural is so prominently woven into Chinese history and culture that I practically feel like I’m still researching a historical rather than worldbuilding for a paranormal romance. There are major texts on the supernatural and a city that is well known to contain the gate to the underworld. I mean, so well known that there’s practically nothing mysterious about it. I’ll have to change that in my book. 🙂 And it’ll have all the things I love — swords, honor, melodramatic characters – LOL.

I’m trying to learn something new by brainstorming a series. All my previous stories were related, but standalone. Plotting a series you need to think of the series arc as well as each story arc. It’s quite fascinating. I don’t have what I call the “Big Bad” nailed down yet, so things are still pretty loose.

But I do have nearly all five couples mapped out. I realize that I don’t start with character sketches or outlines or even worldbuilding. I start by matchmaking. I figure out the hero and the heroine and gauge if there’s enough conflict and chemistry for them to carry a book. I don’t know much about them other than whether they’ll spark. I guess that’s why at the heart of it, I write romance.

Oh, a hint? Tao sorcery, exorcism swords…a Secret Service team that works for the Emperor (inspired by my research for Unusual Historicals). I think I can start writing by this weekend. Giddy!