Dalthia Spin-off?

Another Tuesday. Another newsletter from yours truly.

So, here’s a snippet of news.

My next project will be a spin-off from the Dalthia series. It takes place in the same world. We’ll see some of the princesses. My main characters will be familiar to you because they appeared in the Books of Dalthia.

Continue reading

The Mushy Stuff

Have you ever been reading a book, and when someone asks you what genre it is, you kind of wince as you admit that it’s “just” a romance? I know I’ve had this inclination. Heaven forbid I be caught reading that mushy love stuff. What a waste of time, right? Except that, no, it’s not. The romance genre shouldn’t be viewed as less than any other genre, but somehow that’s the hand it’s been dealt.

But where did this need to undermine the value of the romance genre come from? Somehow action and comedy and sci-fi feel more acceptable. Is it because they’re more male-centric? Well…yes. I believe so. Action is about being tough. Science fiction is about sciency stuff. Comedy makes you laugh. But romance. Ooh. Geez. Romance is all about feelings. That’s girly stuff. As if men don’t experience emotions. As if valuing and discussing and wanting love someone makes a person less than. Continue reading

The Evolution of Romance

This post was originally written as a guest post for Mythical Books.

A friend of mine pitched a story idea to an agent, saying she believed her story fit into the ‘New Adult’ category that has appeared recently. The agent’s response was, “Oh, is it erotica?” My friend assured her it was not, and the agent explained that in the publishing industry, the new category of ‘New Adult’ is used to put more explicit adult content in books meant for younger audiences than the usual ‘adult’ category.

This is more than a little disturbing to me. Continue reading

How Romance Novels are contributing to Rape Culture

Before I was lucky enough to find blogs and other resources that I could rely on for book recommendations, I would troll Amazon. If a description caught my eye, I would look at the sample pages. In doing so I discovered a disturbing trend in romance novel plots. Two books still stick out in my mind. One started with a drunken man stumbling into what he thinks is his room at an Inn. He then assumes that the girl sleeping in the bed must be a prostitute and he treats her as such. The second book started with a ‘gentleman’ (it was a regency, I believe) coming upon a lady in a garden. He only sees her from behind and mistakes her for someone he was supposed to be meeting for a romantic rendezvous. He ends up assaulting the poor girl before realizing she’s not who he thought she was. When he does realize, there is no apology. He just turns on the charm, brushes it off as no big deal, and they part ways. Later, during the social gathering they are attending, he winks at her from across the room.

I went back and read the descriptions of these books and realized that, yes, in both cases I had just met the hero and heroine of the book. These were the two people that were going to fall in love and live happily ever after.

What the crap??!! Are you kidding me? Continue reading

Book Genres

I am an (aspiring) author. I have one completed book and one on the way. However, whenever someone asks me what genre my book is, I tend to get tongue tied, or freeze up. I have a tough time putting my books into any one genre because I don’t feel like they quite fit into any.

Let me explain.

Romance: My books are romances first and foremost, but they are better classified as clean romance. I feel like so much of the time ‘romance’ gets a bad rap because of harlequin and all the scantily clad characters on their book covers, and my books do not fit in with those. There is nothing explicit, at all, in my books. However, the main focus of my plots are the relationships my characters have and how they make those relationships work. I love the hand holding, the first kisses and the fluttery feelings. Yes, I am a sap.

Young Adult: How do you classify a young adult book? Is it just the age of the character? Does  it need to be a coming of age story? My main charaters are in their teens, but they live in a place and time where they are considered adults.

Adult: For some reason, when I think of ‘adult’ books, my mind links them with ‘adult’ films, or ‘adult’ content. I realize that’s not the case, but it’s just one of those funny tricks that my brain likes to play in order to confuse me. I think that plenty of adults will enjoy my book. I just don’t know what qualifications are necessary, or if there are any.

Historical Fiction: There is simply nothing historical about my book. It happens ‘back in the day’, several hundred years ago, but at an unspecified time, in a made up place.

Fantasy: My books occur in a made up land–a kingdom of my own creation. However, there are no fairies or out-of-this-world creatures, so it’s really not fantastical.

You see my dilemma? Or am I just being too particular?

Crappy Romance Spoofs

Most of you know that I am writing a novel. Or more accurately, that I have written a novel. I am also in the middle of my second novel while I try to get the first published, (anyone with connections, please speak up) and I have written several short stories lately. I really enjoy flash fiction and it’s been a fun outlet when I get stuck staring at the pages of my novel, not knowing where to go from here (wherever here happens to be).

So, during one of my forays into the flash fiction world, I was chatting with my sister online and commiserating about wordage for the ending paragraph of my short story. We started throwing out different phrasing ideas and it deteriorated into quite a bit of silliness as we suggested such fabulous phrases like, “I felt my desire to live fade with the setting sun” or “I drew my fingers slowly along my rugged jaw”. We both ended up laughing hysterically and it was so amusing that I decided I should write an alternate ending to my story wherein I included all of those horribly over the top, cliche romance novel phrases. Thus was born, DRAMATIC DEPARTURE. And here it is for your reading pleasure.

As she drove out of my life, I felt my desire to live fade with the setting sun. I watched as the tail lights of her car dimmed until they were only a spec on the horizon and a glint in my eye. I drew my fingers slowly across my rugged jaw as a tear fell from my eye to mar the pristine leather interior of my sweet ride and another slipped into the mass of my burly beard.

It was all so clear now. A sharp pain pierced my heart. It was a wound ten years in the making–a wound opened by the stark realization that letting her go had been the biggest mistake of my life.

Her smiling face fluttered across my vision and a shadow settled into my soul. She was lost to me. She had gone, not knowing the pain that she left in her wake, the gut wrenching sorrow that sat like a stone in my stomach.

A breeze ruffled my shaggy hair and I imagined her soft fingers running through my locks like the kiss of a sunset, a misty rain, a leaf fluttering in the wind.

My utter stupidity settled over me like a used horse blanket and my nose wrinkled in disgust. I had brought this upon myself. She would never know the hole she had left in my heart that rivaled the size of her truck.

 

Then, about a week ago, I was in the mood to amuse myself with writing another spoof, but I’m afraid, (or ecstatic, I’m not sure which,) that it turned out even more wonderfully awful than the first. Instead of just using cheesy phrasing, I had to pull out the big guns:

*The over use of exclamation points! It’s true! Exclamation points!

*The repetition, repetition I tell you, of things that are important, so very, very important.

*The self degradation that lowly, unworthy authors, such as myself, use to describe their perfectly attractive characters.

*The over-emphasis on rippling muscles, toned to perfection, and wavy hair that falls into mesmerizing eyes.

*The use of more than one simile to describe an ethereal feeling that makes one feel like a leaf skittering in the wind, a sunset over the dead sea, or a sea lion calling for its young. *The use of pet names, darlin’, multiple times in one sentence, darlin’.

Etc…

 

And this is what I ended up with.

 

DRAMATIC DEPARTURE, Take II

He leaned in to kiss me and I felt my body moving to obey his every whim, but I fought it with every once of self preservation left to my perfect body. I pulled my face away, leaving his lips to catch only a bit of my cheek. I closed my eyes against the pain of that small gesture, against the agony that felt like a thorn to my soul, a rip tide to my heart, or a bolt of lightning to my life.

He backed away slowly, his wolf eyes prowling as he gazed at me. “I’ll love you forever, baby, but I have to go. You’ll always be my baby though. Won’t you, baby?”

The pain went on and on as his voice painted my soul like brush strokes on a blank canvas. He would always be the master painter in my life, the only artist who could touch my heart, even if I had to let him go.

He straightened to his full, glorious hight, displaying in all their glory his broad shoulders which tapered to a narrow waist. I wanted to weep for every rippling muscle that hid beneath his skin tight t-shirt.

 “Just go,” I whispered in desperation, choking on a sob.

 And he did. He did! He left me there in the wake of his departure to contemplate what had happened to my life. To agonize over the utter ruin I would no doubt find once he was gone forever. The sway of his hind end as he walked away only served to remind me of what I’d be missing out on. Such perfection! He was the supreme specimen of man! Without compare! But I had to let him go. I had to. Because he was too perfect. If he stayed then it would only be a matter of time until he realized just how unworthy I was. How plain, how uninteresting. He could never truly love me. And so I would cherish him in my heart and that would have to be enough. 

 As he disappeared into the setting sun, it became more than I could bear. I turned and fled into the house, trying to outrun my life like a racing stream, a stampeding bull or a great white shark. I burst through my bedroom door and threw my limp body across my bed, determined to sink into the abyss forever. My heart was broken, literally broken! And I would never truly be able to breathe again.

 

Now, in case any of you assumed from this post that I don’t like romance novels, let me be clear. I am an avid reader of romance. I am a writer of romance. I love it. However, there is a big difference between well-written romance and crappily written romance. Of course, that is true of any genre. I just have more experience with romance because that’s what I read. And it’s always a shame to read a book that has a decent plot and interesting characters only to cringe every time they stick those awful exclamation points in, reiterate for the 30th time the perfect physique of the male character, or have the female lament, once again, over how plain she is. I often feel like the cliche romance writers don’t give us readers the benefit of the doubt. They don’t think that we can pick up on subtlety, and so they spell it out, over and over. And then explain it again.

 

So, there’s a little glimpse into my writer psyche.