Magical Realism in Romance #RachelleAyala #mgtab @Mimisgang1

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Take a modern-day contemporary romance and set it in a familiar city or town. Keep the technology: texting, cell phones, the internet, and all the engineering wonders of the 21st century. But inject an element of magic or time travel or even a bit of shapeshifting or ghostly visitations. Since it’s a romance, you have a hero and a heroine. One of them or both are ordinary human beings. Or perhaps he or she appears like an ordinary human being–sometimes. Add in elements of mythology or magic but keep the romance front and central. This is what I’ve been doing in some of my stories which mix magical realism with romance.

I didn’t decide one day to incorporate magical realism into my stories. I’ve always liked reading stories that have strange and unexplained things going on. But it all started with a novella in 2015, Christmas Stray where a boy who claims to be an elf and his puppy appear behind the woodpile to a couple snowed in for Christmas.

What is this thing called magical realism romance? It’s easier to say what it’s not.

It’s not Fantasy or even Urban Fantasy. The setting is in the real world and the main plot line does not center around the fantasy world. There is no battle between kingdoms and realms and most of the characters are not aware of the magic taking place. Furthermore, no undue attention is drawn to the magic that happens. It’s accepted as “just is.” The main character does not permanently change into a creature imbued with special powers, and it’s not a journey of discovery and mastery in another world.

It’s not Paranormal Romance, although there are elements of the paranormal. Perhaps some can interpret a character as a ghost or a time-traveling spirit. However, the story world looks normal to ninety percent of the characters, and the plot does not center around the otherworldly creatures. There is no explanation of the changes or appearances that take place or any lore about the strange creatures like in vampire or werewolf shifting stories where there is a system of clans, transitions, fated mates, etc. Instead, the central plot line is an ordinary contemporary romance set in a mostly ordinary world.

What we’re left with is a romance with elements of magic rooted in the real world.

Of the eighty romances I’ve written, I count thirteen of my books to incorporate magical elements into the mostly realistic storyline. Nine of them are Christmas stories, and ten of them are concentrated in my Christmas Creek Romance series where something strange happens in most but not all books, and yet, at the end of the story, the strange happenings are forgotten or kept secret by the affected couple.

This last detail, of having most of the characters unaware of the time shift or otherworldly visitation or excursion to another realm is what keeps my stories in the dimension of magical realism which is defined as a genre of literature that depicts the real world as having an undercurrent of magic or fantasy. Magical realism is a part of the realism genre of fiction. Within a work of magical realism, the world is still grounded in the real world, but fantastical elements are considered normal in this world. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-magical-realism

Are you ready to be shapeshifted into a vintage MG Roadster convertible while the guy you’re crushing on is driving his dates around your small town? That’s what happens to town wallflower Hayley Brockman in my newest Christmas Creek Romance, Nick’s Christmas Ride.

Nick’s Christmas Ride by Rachelle Ayala

Let me know if you like magic realism in romance. If you do, check out gem girls, Sapphire and Ruby, where ordinary women meet up with demigods on the streets of San Francisco. Black Tied: Sapphire [wok firefighter, the son of the kitchen God] and Red Hexed: Ruby [accidental sword bearer to Lord Frey of the sword that can stop Ragnarok].

The Playlist to Cry For: who listens to music while they read anyway?

By Stephanie Queen 

Confession: I listen to music while I write. It gets me in the mood, if you know what I mean. (Myren, my chauffeur just rolled his eyes.)

What Do I mean?   Music—the right music—enhances the emotional experience. Because let’s face it, what’s evokes emotion more quickly than a love song. Romance stories do a pretty good job although they make take a little while to sink their emotional teeth into you, to grab you and shake you up.

So I think listening to a love song that shares the same theme as the story I’m writing is a heck of a way to warm me up, to get me into the world and make me feel like I’m there.

In writing my latest, soon-to-be-released angsty college romance about forbidden love titled I Want To Know What Love Is (yes, of Foreigner’s hit song fame), I chose a play list that evoked the kinds of emotions I wanted you, the reader to feel. And listening to those songs as I wrote, the focused me on those particular feels.

The only down-side? 

It’s gosh darn exhausting—emotionally speaking! Because I write angsty books and between listening to the songs and getting into the characters so deeply to get the words on the page, I get so steeped and overwrought that my heart actually pounds.

Good news? 

You, the reader get the enhanced experience, the deep feels—and you can take a break any time you need to catch your breath. Unless you’re in emotional marathon condition, then go right ahead and read I Want To Know What Love Is all in one sitting.

Ready for some angst? (Myren’s getting the tissues ready now)

The Playlist to Cry For

If you want to listen and read, you can pre-order the book at Amazon.

The Next Five Seconds are Most Important #mgtab @Mimisgang1 #RachelleAyala

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO!

How many of you make a good decision and get up right away and get going? If you’re like me, you might think about it some more or put it off until you have more energy. You might decide you need more time or get distracted by something else.

However, research shows that the NEXT FIVE SECONDS are the most important five seconds of your life because you can only ACT in the present plus the next five seconds before something else pops up and kills the impulse.

Mel Robbins gave an excellent Ted Talk on forcing yourself to do what you know you want and need to do, and do it on impulse within five seconds. Don’t sit there and talk to yourself that you need to do it. Don’t think about how to do it. Don’t look up all the ways you could do it, and definitely don’t spend the rest of the day thinking or regretting how you could have done it.

Before you can countdown from five to one, get up and physically push yourself to do what you have decided you need to do. Instead, countdown, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … and get up and go.

Mel calls it activation energy. You need a physical push toward your elusive goals by taking action—not only visualizing or self-talk or mulling, but activating your body to make it real.

“It’s your job to make yourself do the crap you don’t want to do, so you can be everything that you’re supposed to be.” – Mel Robbins

Watch Mel Robbins’s Ted Talk: How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over

What is something you’ve been putting off and meaning to start, any time now?

Decide to do it, and then countdown 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and go for it.

This year, I decided to wake up positive every morning. If I get a little anxiety when I wake, I countdown 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and say a prayer, thanking God that he’s blessed me to see another day. I count the people and situations I’m grateful for and I don’t allow anxiety and worry to take over. I can’t help the waking up with a pounding heart, but I surely can change the next five seconds afterwards.

I also wrote and published eight books, including a book about Bitcoin (Smart Woman’s Guide to Bitcoin). How many times in the past did I “think” about Bitcoin, ask others about it, mull over it, and didn’t take the plunge? Well an old dog can learn new tricks and this year, I learned about cryptocurrency and decided to pass on what I learned to others in an easy-to-understand accessible way.

I had the impulse 3 days before November 1st to join Nanowrimo 2021 and write a complete novel in thirty days. Each day, I knew I had to add to my story, so 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … I opened up my document and put in the words. Lastly, being a writer means a lot of sitting down. I knew I needed more exercise and moving my legs during the day to prevent blood clots. My friend, Stacy, has a under the desk pedal “bike.” I thought about it too much until finally, I went and got one. Now, when I want to rest my eyes or my hands, I pick up a book and sit at the table and pedal.

What have you been putting off? Five seconds …

Books I wrote this year …

Please click on the image to go to my website – https://rachelleayala.net [look for free books]

I’m having a sale for Dottie’s Christmas Wish (99c the month of December). It’s a sweet and magical single father romance with a cheerful mail carrier who finds a little girl lost at the side of an icy creek. She didn’t wait five seconds before doing what she needed to do, get the girl to safety and call her dad. It was inspired by a real life story of a mail carrier who found a lost child in the snow.


Dottie’s Christmas Wish
All Merry Jolly wants is to make Dr. Colton Dale smile. All his daughter, Dottie, wants is a dog. Will Christmas wishes come true for three lonely hearts?

How about you? What will you do in the next five seconds? It could be life-changing!

Be sure to sign up for the Authors’ Billboard Newsletter to be invited to parties and keep up to date with our new and exciting boxed sets in 2022! Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

A little FREE Loving and a lot of Gingerbread!

One of my favorite things around the holidays is baking! When I was a little girl, my mother used to make a house out of cardboard, and we used to cover it in chocolate and stick candies all over it. Later, when I was an adult, I added to it.

I started baking my own gingerbread to make the house. Now, let me tell you that I was doing this before you could buy Gingerbread house kits! Personally, I absolutely love baking the Gingerbread so my entire house smells so yummy! This year, my daughter and I are going to make the gingerbread and bake it ahead of time so when my grandkids are here next weekend, they can help to decorate one to take home with them!

I was lucky that many years ago, I found stone molds made by Pampered Chef, and I have made sure to take good care of them through the years so that every year I can make one of these lovely concoctions!

I also have the gingerbread train, and one time, I made an entire village, with six buildings, and a 20 car train! I donated that one, and I sure wish I could find the pictures because man, was it impressive! But this is similar to what the house will look like when we are done with it this year.

If you’re interested in making your own gingerbread, here is a great recipe that goes with the gingerbread molds that I use!

INGREDIENTS

3 cups all-purpose flour 1 12 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 12 teaspoon baking soda 12 teaspoon salt 14 teaspoon ground cloves 12 cup vegetable shortening 12 cup sugar 12 cup molasses 1 egg

Lightly spray the mold with nonstick cooking spray; blot out any excess oil using a paper towel. Combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, and cloves; mix well. In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar until blended. Add molasses and egg; beat until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture; mix well. Shape dough into a ball; divide the dough into 2 portions. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap; chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Press 1 portion of dough firmly into prepared mold, filling all sections. Holding a serrated knife parallel to the surface of the mold cut excess dough from mold. Bake 17-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to cooling rack. Cool in the mold for 5 minutes. Carefully remove cookie pieces from mold; cool completely. Cool mold completely before filling with the remaining dough. Repeat procedure with remaining dough.

Check out two of my Holiday Romances!

Tangled in Tinsel

Mistletoe & Cocoa Kisses