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Friday, May 6, 2016

Guest Post with Author Lynnette Austin and Giveaway

The luxury of staying home when the weather turns nasty, of working in PJs and bare feet, and the fact that daydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged, are a few of the reasons middle school teacher Lynnette Austin gave up the classroom to write full-time. Lynnette grew up in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Mountains, moved to Upstate New York, then to the Rockies in Wyoming. Presently she and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A finalist in RWA's Golden Heart Contest, PASIC's Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers' Maggie Contest, she’s published five books as Lynnette Hallberg. She’s currently writing as Lynnette Austin. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody...and all their business, for better or worse.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Tropes—and, Yes, You Can Sing That!

I love romance—in life, in books, in movies, in songs! At the base of each romance novel is a trope, a plot device that brings your hero and heroine together, creates conflict, and ensures a happy-ever-after.

The same ones are used over and over and over, but each writer approaches the trope from a different perspective, with his or her own twist on it, and that’s what makes each story unique. Why do we see these tropes used time after time? Because we love them! We respond to them. The secret? Find a way to make it fresh and different. Try mixing two or more in a single story.

I think we all have our favorites. You know, the one you catch sight of out of the corner of your eye and you just have to pick it up. Here are my five favorites:

Opposites attract. A hero and a heroine who are very, very different can make for some interesting scenarios as they try first to fight their desire, then fight to find compromises. Both understand that as a couple they don’t make sense; both slowly come to the realization that they can’t live without the other. I used this in Every Bride Has Her Day. Sam is city, Cricket is country. Sam is a total pessimist while Cricket is a card-carrying optimist. Sam’s Yankee through and through and Cricket is Southern-to-her-toes! And if that wasn’t enough conflict, I mixed in a little Beauty and the Beast trope and Return to Hometown.

Beauty and the Beast/Ugly Duckling. In this trope, either the hero or the heroine doesn’t meet society’s standard of beauty. I like to take it a step further and include other problems—PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression—something they have to work together to conquer. That doesn’t mean erasing the condition. It means accepting the hero or heroine as he/she is. Too tall, too short, too heavy. Maybe the hero or heroine is disfigured while serving his or her country in the military, or injured in a car or industrial accident, or has a birth defect.

Unfortunately, our first impressions are generally based on appearances. But with social media, that’s changing. What if a relationship began over the phone? The woman has this sexy, sultry voice, a phenomenal sense of humor, and the hero is drawn to her. They agree to meet for dinner, and the heroine is overweight or missing a limb?

Return to Hometown. In this scenario one—or both—return to their hometown, sometimes with the intention of staying and sometimes simply to take care of some piece of unfinished business before getting the heck out of Dodge. In my Magnolia Brides series, all three of my heroines have returned to Misty Bottoms, Georgia, and all for very different reasons.

The Cowboy. Place this alpha male in Texas or Wyoming or parts in between, and he’s right at home. Take him to New York City? It’s going to take him a bit to get his feet under him, but eventually he will…and while he does, you can bet it’ll be entertaining. So pour a fresh cup of coffee or a glass of wine, grab some chocolate, and sit back for a good read.

Accidental Pregnancy or Secret Baby. These are actually two separate tropes, but I’m going to discuss them together. I love both because of the emotion involved. Chris Young has a song titled “It Takes a Man” that is so incredible about an accidental pregnancy: “Any fool can make a baby, but it takes a man to raise a child.”

In the secret baby trope, the heroine has the hero’s baby but keeps it a secret. She doesn’t tell him or give him the chance to be a daddy. The problem with a secret? Sooner or later, the truth will come out. This plot is full of possibilities.

There are a lot of ways to go with the accidental pregnancy/secret baby tropes. Is the pregnancy the result of a one-night stand or a long-term relationship? If it’s the accidental pregnancy trope, was it an accident on one side only? Does the heroine raise the child or adopt it out? Twist, twist, twist that plot.

There are so many more tropes to consider. The Cinderella/rags-to-riches story, the stranded couple who are forced to spend time together, the arranged marriage, the virgin…and the list goes on. What’s your favorite trope? What kind of romance do you like to read? What’s the one book hook or tag that practically hops into your shopping bag or into your Nook or Kindle library?


Cricket O’Malley can’t wait to plant roots back home in Georgia, where she’s returned to restore an abandoned flower shop to its former glory. The only blemish? Her neighbor’s house is even more neglected than her old flower shop, and its occupant seems as surly as he is darkly handsome.

Devastated body and soul after a tough case went south, New York City detective Sam DeLuca thought he’d have no trouble finding solitude in the quiet Georgia town of Misty Bottoms, but his bubbly neighbor seems determined to shine happiness into Sam’s life. Sam is equally determined to close himself off, but his heart says otherwise…

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Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 5 Print copies of The Best Laid Wedding Plans

To Enter: 
  • What’s your favorite trope? What kind of romance do you like to read? What’s the one book hook or tag that practically hops into your shopping bag or into your Nook or Kindle library?
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Sourcebooks for sponsoring this tour-wide giveaway.
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  1. Small town romances are simple yet beautiful.

  2. I love enemies to lovers and books that have exotic locations that can transport me far away from reality

  3. Everyone knows each other.