Thursday, March 27, 2008

Same But Different

by Suzanne Welsh
As a mother I've said to my kids I love you the same, but different. (How many of us have said that?) Well it's true. Take my girls for example. Both my daughters are singers, artists and readers. I take great pride in all this, but swear I had little do with their development other than pass on some genes. While they're similar in their talents, a fact that still amazes their father and me, they are unique in their styles.

Music: Both girls have been soloists in school and church groups since elementary school. Alison is the soprano who loves blues and rock-a-billy these days. I think the mournful guitar riffs of the blues speak to that deep part of her soul, while the other is just plain fun. Lyndsey loves Christian Rock and punk. The girl can sing soprano and alto and has an ear for harmonies like you wouldn't believe. As their mother, I could listen to both of them sing forever. And given the chance they still perform for audiences in blues bars or churches.

Art: Since they drew their first crayon compositions on their bedroom walls, they've always been drawing. As they've grown their art has evolved into their own styles.

Alison's is very realistic. As you can see by these examples, she likes to draw people in their quieter, more introspective selves. She works with inkings and pastels on large sheets of drawing papers. I love the intensity, the raw emotions they touch inside. Alison is all self taught, well except for that one semester in college. And recently has been showing her work in galleries in the Deep Ellum Art district.

Lyndsey is a lover of the manga style of art. A very vibrant and fun style, full of surprises. She's had more classes to develop her understanding of art, but her style is strictly her own. She sketches on paper, scans it into the computer, then does the coloring by computer. Which given the details and special effects, you can see aren't easy. Each and every picture she develops amazes me and makes me smile. The one above of the girl with the glowing shield uses special light effects. The one below with the hands was a painting she did for a charity. And currently she's working with a Christmas Card company doing fun cards.

Books: Here is where I had a little influence in their tastes. Well, okay maybe a lot. From the moment they were born, I read to them, and they always saw me reading. I encouraged them to read, took them to the bookstore on a regular basis. And when I started writing, they learned how much I love the romance genre. Alison is all over the spectrum with her reading choices, Ann Rand, Sylvia Plath, Sherrylin Kenyon, Elizabeth Lowell, and anything with fantasy, Tolkein and J K Rowling. Lyndsey loves sweeter romances, such as Debbie Macomber; Kinley MacGregor, especially the old Pirate books; and fantasy books such as Gena Showalter and Cathy Spangler.

So what does all this have to do with a romance writing blog? Simple, just as I love my daughters the same but different, so do I love the many subgenres of romance. I love to be whisked off to a new dimension with space heroes and vampires. Give me a good psychic contemporary suspense to read late at night when the house is creepy silent. Give me a historical that makes me yearn for years gone by. Make me laugh, make me cry, make me go YUMMO at the heroes.

And sadly, I write the same way. I love to step back in time and create my version of history. I love creating the American contemporary small town and all the zany characters. I love to have the good guys defeat the bad guys and get the girl. Perhaps someday I'll find my one niche, but for now, I love them all...the same, but different.

So how about you? Is there anything you're so passionate about you can't see any other style? Or are you like me, a bit of a smorgasbord reader/writer?


Tawny said...


And hey-- looky who I've got... and didn't even break a nail *g*

Suzanne Welsh said...

On behalf of my girls, thanks, Tawny! And glad to see the GR escaped his gilded cage over at Fedora's!

Tawny said...

okay, now that I have that desperate hurry hurry urge out of my system...

Suz, your daughters are so talented! Their artwork is fabulously gorgeous and wow, they are just creative all across the board, aren't they?!

I think I'm a little niche-y with my reading preferences. Not so much in terms of sub-genre; I'll read a hot contemporary, a paranormal or historical with equal enjoyment. But I go for lighter books. Stories that make me laugh and smile, and if there are tears, they drip into the grin lines on my face, rather than turning to sobs.

Christine Wells said...

Wow, you must be so proud of those two, Suz. How much talent can you fit into one family? And as a parent, I think you can take a lot of credit for nurturing that creativity. Wonderful post!

As for subgenres, it really depends on my mood. I often binge on one subgenre or another, but historicals are pretty much staple for me. So many books, so little time...

Ah, Tawny, rooster nabbing with style. Congrats!

Jane said...

My tastes run all over the place. I love paranormals and suspense, but I also enjoy historicals. I like classical music and modern rock/alternative equally. On the other hand, I love medieval and Renaissance art, but modern art doesn't affect me as much. I like manga and Marvel comics.

Anna Campbell said...

I think he LIKES it at Fedora's, Suz! Else he wouldn't park his feathery butt over there so often!

Tawny, congratulations!

Suz, great post and FANTASTIC artwork. Your daughters are amazing. No wonder you're so proud of them. I'm a bit of a smorgasbord reader - I think my one requirement is that the story draws me in and I can relate to the characters. Not necessarily like them, but find them interesting or understandable or compelling. Good writing is also something that really works for me although not instead of story. But put good writing and great story and fantastic characters together, and you've got a classic in my eyes. One of the interesting things about the RITA judging I recently did is that I read a couple of books in lines I wouldn't normally choose. And they were fantastic because they were brilliantly done. Yet again, I discovered that at heart, I'm a genre tart. Show me something good and I'm there until you send me home!

jo robertson said...

Aw, you broke up the lovely couple -- GR and Fedora. Maybe it's for the best, Tawny, as they were getting awfully chummy.

Suzanne, what a beautiful post and how talented your daughters are! Their work is lovely and I know how proud you must be of them!

I'm afraid I don't have the breadth of genre enjoyment that most of you ladies do. I rather like reading the same kinds of books, but I'm always pleasantly surprised when I pick up a really good book in a genre I don't normally appreciate.

I'm very excited about reading Nancy Haddock's debut book and that's one I wouldn't normally select. But the premise sounded so good and the recommendation was so high that I've pre-ordered it from Amazon.

We get so many good book suggestions in the Lair!

Eva S said...

Great post, wonderful artwork! I wish I could draw like that...

Historicals are my passion, and paranormals with vampires and shapeshifters, but give me a book and I read it! Although I must admit there are some books I haven't finished, but not many...

Helen said...

Congrats Tawny

Beautiful post Suzanne and what beautifully talented daughters you have I love their artwork and I love all types of music so I too would enjoy listening to their music.
As most of you know I love historicals and that is mainly what I read. I have won a couple of paranormals over the last couple of years and really did enjoy them and have been buying the rest in the series so as I can read them. I have yet to read a vampire book but I am getting a lot closer to buying some of them to read because of all that I have read about them and their authors.
BTW Anna I read your short story in the Australian Womans Weekly today loved it excellent read.

Have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Helen, thanks for checking it out! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!!

Gillian Layne said...

Suzanne, you must be so proud! I have three girls myself, and they are each so different, but all share a love of reading. They roll their eyes at my historicals, but were very impressed with the TWIST cover of Colby's book. And the older two have started writing as well; it's frightening how good they are. Teenage confidence is something to behold, and take a lesson from, I think. They don't worry about who likes what and certainly aren't thinking about editors or agents, they just write what they love, and it's amazing what they come up with.

I have wide variety of tastes. Adore historicals, but also fantasy and science fiction, mysteries, contemporaries, and discovered that many inspirationals are also simply fabulous. Thank heavens for the huge variety of wonderful books out there! My only requirement nowadays is that I get something that at least resembles a happy ending--No "everyone dies at the end" for me!:)

Gillian Layne said...

Helen--I am crazy about vampire books! There are a huge variety just in that category, so it doesn't have to be all gore and violence; there are some really funny one's, too.

Australian Woman's Weekly isn't on-line, by chance? I'm thinking it isn't coming to Kansas anytime soon...:)

Annie West said...

Suzanne, what a talented family. Wow!

Interesting idea for a post too. I tend to find myself looking for books like I've enjoyed before but whenever I break out into something new I find something suprising and exciting. I love contemporary romance (particularly the sizzle and high octane emotion of Presents). I adore witty regency romances and at the same time get hooked on grittier larger scale historicals full of passion. I love romantic comedy and a good suspense... But every now and then I branch out and have fun discovering something new. I just wish there was more time in the day so I could read more and still get my books written!


Donna MacMeans said...

Suz -

Your girls are so very talented. I know you're very proud of their accomplishments and deservedly so. How wonderful to watch them blossom.

So many wonderful books out there, and so little time!! I love historicals, paranormals, fantasies, contemps that make me laugh...I have this huge TBR pile of mixed genres, but there rarely seems to be enough time to get to them. Heaven would be to be able to lounge about (what better position for reading?) with chocolates and Diet Coke at the ready - and nothing to do but live in between the pages of a good book, one after another.

Anna Campbell said...

Gillian, I think you need to be able to buy the mag :-( If you buy me a drink in San Francisco, I might, just might give you the gist of the story. It's sorta boy meets girl, boy saves girl, boy and girl get married. Oh, hey! Now you don't have to buy me a drink! Sheesh, that didn't work out too well!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I have been reading more of a mixed genre of late. I lean toward the historicals as a rule. Just something about long ago and far away that gets me. Since coming to the lair though I have definitely spread out my interests which is a very good thing. I hate to think of all the good books I might have missed.

Suzanne Welsh said...

They're pretty nice people, too, Christine. :)

I have to agree, historicals are always a staple for me. Sometimes what I read depends on the weather. Today looks to be cool and perhaps rain, so something more dark and moody is on the agenda.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Morning, Jane! I'm so glad someone else is "all over the place", too!

Especially in music. When my kids were teens and really driving me crazy, I'd put on Bluegrass or old country classis....You never saw three people grab their earphones and CD players so fast!! :)

Suzanne Welsh said...

A genre tart, huh, Anna? Translating from the Aussie, is that like a genre ho? :)

I agree, a good story is the key to holding my interest, and if I find an author who can do that, I've been known to seek out their entire backlist. Mind you, I don't read things in order, unless I stumble upon their first book in a series first, but I do love a good story teller!

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hey, Suzanne! Boy, talent's pretty thick on the ground in your family, isn't it? You should be proud of your girls; they're extraordinary.

As far as my reading tastes go, I'm pretty omnivorous. Though given my druthers, I'm with Gillian: please don't let everybody die at the end. That's my only rule. Please, please, leave me with at least the illusion of optimism, some small reason to believe that everything will end, if not happily, at least better than it started out.

My husband is a huge fan of those Best of the Year lists that come out every December. He reads all the Best Books of the Year lists, then compiles his Christmas list. Starting in January, he plows through the books he asked for, then the ones he deems worthy of discussion, he plops on my nightstand. He nags me until I read them so we can chat about them. I've read a ton of books I wouldn't otherwise have picked up this way & sometimes they're deadly depressing (hello, Cormac McCarthy) & sometimes they're exhilarating (I'm talking about you, Michael Chabon.) But it's always fun to venture beyond the romance borders a little to see what else is out there.

But funny thing: I always come back to romance because that's what speaks to me.

doglady said...

Tawny, you siren you! You lured him away from Fedora!

Suzanne, what gloriously talented girls! You must be so proud and you should be. As a musician I can tell you that you should never underestimate the gift of your encouragement and a home where their talents could be nurtured. You had much more to do with it than simple genetics.

Hey, I am basically a book 'ho! I'll read just about anything someone hands me. But when it comes to the majority of my library and my must buys my priorities are - Regency historicals first, other historical romance next, and then paranormals. Oh and Regency period research. That is my new addiction.

Musically my first priority is serious music (what most people call classical - a misnomer as that only covers a specific style and period in music history) After that I love film scores and some bluegrass (old style) zydeco, Celtic music, Il Divo, James Blunt and Josh Groban. I am a bit of a musical snob as I tend to analyze it and if it isn't good I don't want it.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Thanks, Jo!

When I read Nancy's ARC I had a little inkling about the story and when it started out as first person, I thought, "Oh no!", because I rarely like the voice of the first person. But this one just snagged me in. And it was such a unique twist on the vampire and vampire world idea that I just gobbled it up!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Eva, you know what? I wish I could draw like that too! Alas, my stick figures barely look like stick figures. My husband's mother dabbled in art, so we're thinking that's where that particular gene came from. The music? At least their voices...that comes straight from my Welsh and Scottish ancestory.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Helen, if you decide to read a vampire book, I'd actually start with Dream Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon. While it's not a vampire book, it is the beginning of her Dark Hunter series that continues with Night Pleasures.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh Gillian, I MUST have the HEA at the end. I don't want my characters dying. I must confess if it's a book recommended on certain reading lists for "literature", it's a classic, I avoid them like the plague. I get enough real life drama, life and death in the day-to-day, that I refuse to allow it in my reading material.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey there, Annie! Glad to see you back in the Lair today.

I love finding new authors. In fact, I use the free book signings at National to try out someone I might not normally pick up at the book store. I read Karen Rose's RITA winning RS the year before it won by picking it up at one of those signings! Now I won't miss one of her books.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Donna, one of their accomplishments I'm most proud of, is they're all (son included) employed!!! :)

Your idea of heaven sounds good to me, And oh yeah, the chocolate would be calorie free, and turning a page would equate to walking one block!!

Sounds like you're a smorgasbord reader like me!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Dianna! Don't feel bad, the super guests we've had in the Lair has made my TBR pile grow exponentially and by many different genres. Sigh. It seems to be enabling my addiction!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Susan, I'm with you and Gillian on the "No main character dies" thing. Secondary characters, well sometimes it's just a must, but please don't let me form a major attachment to them.

When I need something to cleanse my pallate from the romances, I used to choose Ludlum. Yep, Ludlum was my sorbet! But since his passing, and the fact that I read all his original works already, I've found Steve Berry. Whoo hoo, Steve Berry sorbet!!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Morning Pam!

Right now I have the biography of John Adams on my beside table. It is interesting reading, but the print is small and the writing detailed, so I read about 10 pages or so at each sitting.

Otherwise this is my reading order:
1. Automatic buys first, (Julie Garwood, Kennyon, Hooper, SEP, Quick, Krentz, JR Ward)
2. Historicals by authors I enjoy, (Heath, Maxwell, Campbell, Kleypas, Jodi Thomas)
3. Contemporaries that looked good or were recommended.(Jane Graves, Jane Porter, Macomber)
4. Romantic Suspense, (Rose, Brennan)
5. Paranormals with fun concepts...uh...I don't do witches and warlocks.
7. Erotica with good plots
8. Chicklit or women's fiction IF the heroine is not whiney and the situation not depressing

Trish Milburn said...

Suz, your daughters are very talented. I like Lyndsey's Rogue and Gambit drawing, being the X-Men fan I am.

As for reading, I love historicals (my faves are American-set -- Westerns and Colonial era), paranormal, urban fantasy, YA, just lots of different stuff. And I really like mystery series too by authors like Dana Stabenow, Nevada Barr, etc.

Kathy Sullivan said...

Hey Suz

Of course your daughters are talented, just look at their gene pool *g*.

My reading crosses all genres. I will read just about anything I can get my hands on, as long as there is a HEA (if its a series, there better be a HEA at the end, or I get royally pissed off).

See you at DID.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Somehow, Trish, I just KNEW you'd know who that last picture is of! It's titled, Gambit Kisses Rogue. For a long time Lyndsey had a Rogue fetish going. She read x-men comics constantly which shifted into manga comics, ergo the style she's developed.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Morning, Kathy!! Welcome back to the lair. Y'all, Kathy is one of my favorite people in Dallas.

Kathy, both the girls will be at the DID booksigning. They know they're mama will happily buy them books!

Beth said...

Wow, Suzanne, your daughters are amazing! What gorgeous art work!!

I'll happily read just about anything. I too thought I wouldn't like first person narrative but then I started reading Janet Evanovich and Meg Cabot and I love them both so much, I'm going to try writing my YA in first person :-)

Having so many wonderful guests in the lair has really opened me up to different sub-genres as well. My TBR pile is constantly growing *g*

Cassondra said...

Wow Suz, what talented girls you have. Of course, we've benefited from that talent here in the lair already.

I'm a happy ending ho. I don't want sad endings. I just don't want to pay money to be made sad. It stays with me for weeks, and sometimes months. If a character is going to stay with me for that long, I want it to be a happy ending ya know? So as genres go, I guess I'm a romance ho for certain. And I don't care too much for sci fi and other than Sherrilyn, I don't read a lot of vamps and weres. So it's either historical or contemporary romance for me.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Okay everyone's said it, but it bears repeating...WOW, what talented daughters you have Suz! :> I love both of their work.

Tawny, you vivacious vixen you, you got the GR! Fedora's going to be so upset. Grins.

Great topic, Suz. Then again, anything about books is a great topic, right? I'll read just about anything, up to and including cereal boxes. Especially if I'm jonesing for a good read. haven't had that problem much since we started the blog. Now the problem's So Many Books, So Little Time! as the t-shirt says!

I read across the board from paranormals, romantic suspense, historicals, action adventure to fantasy/sci-fi to non-fic research and success material. Like Cassondra, I don't want everyone to die or to have paid $7, $8 or $10 to be sobbing at the end. If I wanted that, I could watch the news. That's the way I like my movies too, BTW. Won't go see the sad ones. Bleeeeech. Give me a good action adventure or love story anyday! If I'm payin' for a babysitter, by gosh, I better feel GOOD when I get back home, not depressed. Ha!

Its fun to hear about the successes of things like The Kite Runner, and The Lovely Bones and so forth, but I'm not going to read anything that emotionally dragging and deeply sad. Nope. Not. Gonna. Do. It. Life's got enough of that, I don't want to focus on it in my rare leisure time.

Speaking of leisurely, Anna, you better bring a copy of that article to SF so we can see it!

catslady said...

I'm with you and love a variety. And I agree about same but different. I have two girls and although I read constantly to both - one loves to read like me and one picked up my artistic talents (which all your girls are fantastic). Both girls have decided that dad loves one better and I love one better (luckily not the same girl lol) which of course isn't true but we each tend to have a personality clash with each of them so it just seems that way and as many times as we tell them the same but different they refuse to believe us. Just wait 'til they're mothers, then they'll understand :)

Aunty Cindy said...

WTG, Tawny! I'm SURE it was the shoes that lured the GR! :-)

Thanx for a wonderful post and GREAT piccies, Suz!

As Cassondra mentioned, the Banditas first became aware of Suz's very talented daughters when Lyndsey designed our SUPER KEWL Romance Bandits logo with the mask and rose. And yes, Suz you need to take TONS of credit for nurturing your daughters' creativity! Most kids are interested in drawing and art but most parents DO NOT encourage them to develop their talents. So BIG KUDOS to YOU, m'dear!

I LIKE Foanna's description of genre tart. I think I'll claim that designation too. ;-) As so many others have said, give me an interesting storyline, characters I can care about and an HEA and I'm THERE!


Anna Campbell said...

Suz, a genre tart is indeed a genre ho!

Oh, Pam! My sister across the water. I had SUCH a crush on James Blunt. In fact, Matthew in Untouched started looking like him at one stage! I used to walk along the seafront here first thing in the morning (sadly a habit that hasn't continued) playing "You are Beautiful" on repeat and growling at people who said hello to me. Couldn't they see I was busy listening to JB telling ME I was beautiful???!!!!

flchen1 said...

Wow--definitely what everyone else said, Suz--your daughters are amazingly talented in many arts! Must be a genetic thing :)

I'm pretty happy reading most genres (hee at Anna--genre tart?!) but I agree with Tawny and Susan and everyone who's said no tragic endings, please! Anything but that!

And congrats, Tawny! I'm sure the GR's enjoying your digs today! :)

Tawny said...

WTG, Tawny! I'm SURE it was the shoes that lured the GR! :-)

hehehehe... probably the feather accents across the arch! But he is making sad little bwak bwak sounds making me think he's missing Fedora!

Esri Rose said...

Wow, those are some talented girls!

Lessee...I've written fantasy and sci-fi romances, a lad lit, a chick-lit, and a non-romance mystery.

You know, I've enjoyed them all, and now that someone is paying me to write elf romances, I like them a little more.

And I'll read just about anything. So I guess I'm right there with you!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Thanks, Cassondra. Your watercolor was so inspiring, it was part of the impetous behind the blog.

Isn't it how weird that all of us prefer the HEA and no one dying at the end kind of books? Or maybe that's what makes us romance writers and readers?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Beth! See I've never been a first person sort of gal. Maybe because I want to imagine myself in the story as the omipotent one?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Thanks, Jeanne. I have some very unique art in my house these days. (When I get the dining room finished, I'll post pics. I have a stunning display Lyndsey did for me for Christmas a few years ago in there.)

As for HEA...I'm a big stickler for that. High brow literature and artsy fartsy movies are just NOT my cup of tea! If I want sad endings I'll read non-fiction and biographies.

Suzanne Welsh said...

LOL, Catslady. There were times when I loved one child more than the other, but mostly it's been the same but different.

Suzanne Welsh said...

AC...Lynds did do a fabulous job on the RB logo, didn't she? Mystery, romance, mood. Yep, that's us!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Fedora, are you missing the GR today? He sure does like it over at your place!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Evening, Esri! If someone were paying me to write Elvin books, I'd love them the best, too!! :) Yours comes out in May, doesn't it?

Trish Milburn said...

Suz, you know me well. Hubby and I read a lot of X-Men comics when we were in college. There was a comic shop right across from campus. We still have those comics. Even though it was Rogue-Gambit in the comics, I have to admit I hoped for a little Rogue-Wolverine romance in the movies. :)

doglady said...

Ah, La Campbell is that not a gorgeous song? My BFF introduced me to James Blunt AND bought his first album for me. I am picky when it comes to contemporary music especially and that man is very talented!!

I can just see you growling at people on the beach! Too funny!

All that reading, Suzanne, when do you sleep??

Suzanne Welsh said...

ah, Pam. It's truly amazing what a body can accomplish on 5 hours/day!