The Chiseled Hero and Willowy Heroine.

I’ve read a lot of books. (Shocker.) And most of those books are romance because I love reading about those feelings—the discovery of attraction, then waiting on pins and needles to find out if the other person feels the same way. There is something so basically human about finding love. However, I think many authors get stuck on attraction and have a hard time moving on to meaningful relationships. When I’m reading a book, there is only

Unknownso much physical description that I can take. If the hero’s rock hard abs are the main focus, it’s tough for me to take it seriously. I tend to roll my eyes when the heroine’s berry red lips and tiny waist are expounded on. Physical description is fine. It’s good to know that the hero and heroine are attracted to one another. However, should that really be the characteristic that is focused on the most? Do we need to keep going back to the fact that she is the spitting image of Aphrodite anP10_116_1d his physique is like the statue of David?

My objection isn’t just that it’s redundant, or that it flattens the characters into nothing but their physical attributes.

My main problem is the message it sends. It suggests that real love only happens between excessively beautiful people. It suggests that the first thing we should be looking for in a companion is ‘hotness.’ It perpetuates the body image crisis. If we become so fixated on outward appeal, it blinds us to a person’s other attributes. If we teach young girls that the ideal man is good looking above all else, we’ll train them to ignore flaws, to discount warning signs of abuse. We’ll also train them to disregard guys with big hearts and impeccable manners unless they are wildly attracted to them.

Does that mean that good guys aren’t handsome? No. But should someone’s looks always be at the center of your thoughts and conversations? I can think of several books where Sally brings Roger home to meet her parents, and at the end of the evening, Mom mentions what a nice man he is, adding, “And he’s so good looking.”

First of all. Awkward. Second. And your point is? Why is that something to comment on? Maybe my family is odd, but I don’t remember my parents ever commenting on the attractiveness of a guy I was dating.

If we congratulate our characters on snagging that good looking man, then we’ll teach our girls to congratulate themselves on snagging that good looking guy. We’ll also reinforce the poisonous idea that their looks are what is going to get them a man. (BTW, I’m referring to what girls will take away from it, simply because the majority of romance readers are female. But everything I’m discussing goes both ways.)

Describing your characters’ physical attributes is important, but personally, I think less is more. If your hero or heroine finds their love interest to be good looking, go ahead and say so. But don’t keep bringing up how attractive they are. Mention his sweet smile and kind eyes, but don’t tell me how she gasped in shock each time he looked at her because she just.couldn’t.believe that someone so attractive could love her.

Of course not every romance book does this. What I’m talking about is—thankfully—the exception, not the rule. So let’s talk about Jane Eyre. (Yes, it will always come back to Jane with me.) Mr. Rochester is just a normal looking fellow. We know this because when Rochester asks if Jane finds him handsome, she answers truthfully with a ‘no.’ Yes, they are attracted to each other, but not because of each others’ looks. It’s so much more than that. It’s about compassion, and wit, and honestly trying to understand one another.

Characters’ relationships should be built on lasting foundations just like real-life relationships. Readers should be able to understand why characters are making a connection, why they are willing to let down their guard and take a chance on each other.

We all want deep, rounded characters, just like we want deep, rounded people.

Saving Marilee Cover Reveal

Kindle-Cover-1

 

“This didn’t feel like bravery. It felt like pieces of me were scattered in the wind and I was just doing my best to snatch them from the air before they were lost. And even if I succeeded, I would still be left with nothing but crumpled pieces in my hands.”

Marriage wasn’t bliss—not for Marilee. Instead of finding contentment with the handsome son of a sovereign duke, she found betrayal and neglect. And fear. A fear that finally lifts when her husband dies, freeing her from his domineering hand. But freedom alone can’t give her peace, and she must battle to regain her love for life, rebuild her happiness, and reclaim the ability to trust. When her charming neighbor intrudes on her quiet life, she must determine whether his interest is genuine, and whether he deserves the fragile bit of trust she has managed to scrape together. However, trusting is a risk, and she has vowed never to put herself at the mercy of someone else’s whims. Can Marilee take that chance, knowing how terribly she’s chosen before? She doesn’t know if she can survive being wrong again.

Saving Marilee will be released on May 1st and I’m excited to be able to say that it is now available for pre-order!

Add it to your Goodreads shelf.

A huge thank you to Jen Fauset for the fantastic cover photo and for all the other photos that I’ve been able to use for memes and such. She’s amazing.

Rhys Meets Princess Lylin

Scene #2 from Rhys’s POV. This is actually the first one that I chose to write, because it seemed like the perfect moment to delve into his head and get a little insight. I also knew it would be relatively easy for me since I already knew what he was thinking. And now you get to know. :)

Caution: If you have not read Missing Lily, please don’t read these scenes! They will spoil the plot for you. Go read Missing Lily first, then come back and enjoy these extras.

Rhys Meets Lylin Continue reading

Meet Tobias through the eyes of Rhys Fallon

It all started with a simple question that a reader asked in the comments. She mentioned the scene I had written from Gavin’s POV and asked if I had plans to do the same for Rhys.

Boy, did that get the wheels in my head turning. Which scene could I do? There were so many great ones that I thought would be excellent from his perspective. How could I choose??

Then I realized I didn’t have to choose. There certainly wasn’t a limit on the number of scenes I could amuse myself by rewriting. And believe me, it WAS amusing. I was surprised at how much fun I had and how completely alive Rhys was in my head. You guys know I don’t write from men’s points of view. There is a reason for that, several in fact. But somehow I didn’t mind getting into Rhys’s head, maybe because I already knew what he was thinking. Regardless, the result is that I rewrote three scenes. Enjoy.

Caution: If you have not read Missing Lily, please don’t read these scenes! They will spoil the plot for you. Go read Missing Lily first, then come back and enjoy these extras.

 

Meet Tobias 2 Continue reading

Box Set Glitch and FIX

**The glitch in the box set is fixed! If you got a faulty version, you should be able to update the book by syncing.**

You cannot imagine how sorry I am about the glitch in the box set version of Just Ella. It was already on sale and selling quite a few when someone brought it to my attention that the last part of chapter one was missing. It just stopped in the middle of a sentence. Those who have read the book will probably realize how significant that is. The end of chapter one is more than a little bit important. Continue reading

Cover Photo Shoot

As always, getting a cover put together for my newest book has been an adventure! At the beginning of January, my husband mentioned that he wanted to go watch our nephew in his wrestling state championship down in Salt Lake. I realized that it would be a great excuse for me to put together a photoshoot down there. My sister, Jennifer, is a superb photographer (Fauset Photography) and lives down that way.

So we put up a casting call and I got to look through pictures of a bunch of lovely women with fabulous long blonde hair and found a model who was perfect.

Then, the hunt for a dress was on. Once again, I relied on the wonderful ladies at In Retrospect in downtown Boise. I couldn’t resist trying on this hat while I was there. I’m ready for tea with the queen.

IMG_6320

I found two dresses that I thought would work and arranged to rent them. Continue reading

The Rest of the Story – Part 3

I went to see Into the Woods the day after Christmas. I love that musical to the moon and back, and I’m still just a little bitter that I wasn’t cast in it that one time in college. Granted I wasn’t actually enrolled at the time, but still!

Anyway. The hubby and I were driving home and he commented that Into the Woods was a perfect example of what I was talking about in my blog post about The Rest of the Story. Ain’t that the truth. The brilliance of that musical (in addition to the incredible music and lyrics) is that Act I tells the fairy tales so well. They are wrapped up in their neat happily ever afters, and then in the stage production, act II starts with “Once Upon a Time…Later,” and proceeds to tell the story of what happens AFTER the happily ever after. Because once you get what you wish, there will always be another wish to take its place.

Into-the-Woods-Lilla-Crawford Continue reading

What I’m Working On

I’ve dropped some hints here and there on social media about my next book, but I figured I’d give an official update.

I’m working on Marilee’s story! If you’ve read Just Ella, you’ll remember Marilee as the vibrant, fun, and often silly sister. She is the second youngest and was more than a little bit shallow and naive.

Marilee has her happily ever after. She married the handsome son of a sovereign duke and moved to his picturesque estate. But after eight months of marriage, Marilee has lost her love for life, as it’s been squashed out of her by her domineering husband. He has pushed her to the breaking point. So when he suddenly dies, she is left to rebuild her life and her confidence with the help of a few loyal servants, and her kind neighbor, Mr. Sutton. But reclaiming the ability to love and trust will take time and patience, from both of them.

1969326_10153870893035386_2054243218_n Continue reading