Hello all. I hope you’re doing alright.
I thought 2020 was challenging. So far, 2021 has been just as challenging for me and mine. It’s been a year of coping with the mental health chaos left behind from 2020, and trying to right the ship and self care.
As I’ve been trying to ensure self care, I’ve been reading a few book series, and the question came to mind about what kinds of series people like. In romance, many series are different couples, but all tied together by a thread of a few characters. Maybe all the brothers in a family have a romance, or a group of friends each get a different romance book. However, some romance series are continuations, one couple, as they struggle through different situations–and often an alternate partner who can create a triangle.
They’re both good approaches, and I see the merits in each of them. As I think through the idea a bit, I believe I’m more partial–for romance, at least–of the connected stories, rather than the continuations. I like seeing each couple live happily ever after at the end, and then checking in with my previous HEA couples. For other genres, I think I prefer the continuation series. I like one big long series that keeps going. If the focus is romance and the series continues, they always introduce a foil, a potential mate who one MC is drawn to when the other does something kind of sketchy.
I hate triangles because I never pick the right guy. I’m not down with sketchy stuff, and so when dude one does something shady, and dude two is waiting in the wings and is a pretty good match, I’m not here for dude one. Yet so many people are. (A history of my wrong guy in popular culture: I was Team Jacob in Twilight, I was Team Noel in Felicity; I was team Jax in the General Hospital Sonny/Brenda/Jax triangle). Don’t hate me.
So, now that I’ve unnecessarily spilled my history of bad choices, let’s get back to the question at hand. What’s your favorite type of series?
I feel like Princess Tiana in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. I’m almost there!
As I mentioned last time, I’m putting my books into Kindle Unlimited again. However, to do that, they have to be off other sites. There are a couple books that are stragglers, and I’m having trouble getting them removed from other sites, but here’s a progress update. I’m still waiting on Beauty and Her Beastly Love and Stil’s Heart, but the the following books are available in Kindle Unlimited:
There’s that old expression, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” And that’s how I feel today.
I was super surprised to log onto my Amazon dashboard and see hundreds of copies of Dr. Carter & Mrs. Sinn had been downloaded today. I did no advertising, no tweeting, no nothing. I suspect I showed up on someone’s bargain freebies list today, and that’s super cool with me because I never look a gift horse in the mouth!
If you haven’t read Dr. Carter and Mrs. Sinn, you can pick it up free on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, and Apple!
If you’re wondering what looking a gift horse in the mouth means, my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Harmon, told us that back in the old days, when horses were common household transportation, the way you determined their worth was by examining their teeth. Bad teeth, I suppose, meant, old, no good horse. So, if someone ever gifted you a horse, it would be incredibly rude to examine its teeth. You got a horse, and any horse is better than no horse.
I hope all of you stay safe in the quarantine. Download some romances and love those you’re with (even if they’re annoying after two weeks of quarantine).
The coronavirus is very scary. It’s been pervading everything in U.S. lives for the last few weeks, and ramping up to pandemic level in recent days. The state I’m in–Maryland–has closed schools for the next two weeks. It’s a dangerous times, and I think people are looking for any signs of hope.
I would say, if you are stuck inside, and worried about COVID-19, be vigilant, but also try to enjoy whatever distractions you can when you can. Watch your favorite films, read your favorite books, catch on your Netflix binge list.
A friend at work told me, coronavirus is certainly “making life interesting,” and I told her, “I’d rather have a boring life.” Since we can’t get back to boring, we must remember that as we try to get through this scary time, we should try to find small joys.
When I start to worry about things I have no control over, I am going to watch the Princess Bride or maybe try one of the books I got excited about and bought and haven’t quite gotten to reading yet.
What’s your plan as we hunker down and try to get through this awful pandemic?
A path to romance. It’s kind of funny how two people can meet and fall in love. As a romance reader, first, and as a romance writer, I love the various ways that people can enter each other’s spheres and discover that they’re the other person’s person. You know, that person who gets them, that person who loves them, quirks and all.
The path to romance can be fast and furious: the two lovers who instantaneously feel that connection. Or it can be slow and winding: those who are friends, who fall in love with others, break up, and yet wind up with each other. Or it can be tumultuous: full of ups and downs, fiery and passionate.
Whatever the path, it always has intrigue and humor and a healthy heaping of passion. It’s why I love romance. It’s about the journey. And for me, it needs to end happily ever after. I know there’s an entire field of writers who enjoy trauma porn in romance–setting up great tales and ending them tragically. But I don’t want trauma. I only want the porn if there’s a great story with it.
So do you have a favorite path to romance?
Anyone who follows romance novels–and many who don’t–are likely well aware that the Romance Writers of America has imploded in recent weeks. Just before Christmas, RWA sanctioned Chinee American author Courtney Milan for pointing out the racism in another author’s book. The romance writing community exploded in fury, saying this was the last straw for them with RWA. Even though RWA nixed the sanctions against Milan, things devolved, with the group’s governing board, executive director, and president resigning (following a recall petition). It’s been unsettling to watch.
And while an organization falling apart because its values didn’t align with the values of its members isn’t anything new, it is frustrating. It is frustrating because this organization was created for a reason. For several reasons, actually. Primarily, it was created as a place where romance writers could join together and get fellowship, advice, support, and education. It became a place where writers met other writers and formed lasting friendships. It became a place where people could learn from the best, or learn the pitfalls to watch out for on their writing journeys. It became a place that would rally behind writers and help them. Just two years ago, RWA joined forces with the Authors Guild to help defeat attempts to trademark the word “cocky” so other romance writers could not use it in their book titles.
Even now, the RWA is missing in action when writers need their help. RWA had been negotiating to help authors contracted to a company that authors said wasn’t paying royalties due and is currently in the midst of a financial restructuring. Those authors could use an advocate with a wider voice, and they don’t have one. That’s what saddens me. While RWA isn’t a union, it is an organization that pools the resources and voices of the many to provide robust support for all when needed.
And now that seems to be gone, as the RWA tries to figure out if it can convince its members that it is an organization they want to belong to. Now, I’m not saying writers should go back to RWA just so they can have the support of a writer’s organization. For too many members, RWA has shown it doesn’t value them and it has to deal with those consequences.
What I am saying is, I hope that some organization can form (and I’ve heard about the Romance Alliance) that will do for romance writers what RWA set out to do, and do it in a way that embraces and includes people, rather than pushes them away.
I have returned!
I apologize for my absence. I took a job outside of writing last year and have been away from the authoring business for more than a year now. Just writing that seems so bizarre, because I love writing so much. It’s a huge part of who I am, and being away from it so long seems anathema.
But I am back. I have been working on completing two projects, and hope to get them edited and out to you in 2020. Because I’m slowly sliding back into this, I won’t bite off more than I can chew. I will definitely have one new title published by June.
So, in my absence, what have your lives been like? Do you have any plans for this exciting 2020 year?
Diamonds & Hearts is available today!
The book is 99 cents through the end of this weekend, before it goes up to full price of $2.99. This book is a contemporary romance and its lots of fun. It’s got mobsters, diamonds, and lots more.
Here’s the blurb. Grab it now for 99 cents or read it free in Kindle Unlimited. Here’s the blurb:
“Diamonds are pieces of charcoal that handle stress exceptionally well.” -unknown
Onyx Neel’s life should be coming up roses. After a turbulent childhood with a father who was a diamond thief, she’s found peace and happiness as a teacher helping guide children. But everything shatters when she learns her brother’s cancer has come back, and only an expensive treatment can save him. Onyx knows only one place to get the money, but going back means returning to a life she’s tried to forget?
Ryan Harper is the epitome of spoiled, wealthy playboy. He’s constantly in trouble, and it’s only ratcheted up since his sister died a year ago. With his reckless behavior having spiraled, he’s in real trouble now. He owes a mobster big money for gambling debts, but he’s out of cash, when he loses access to his trust fund.
When Ryan and Onyx turn up seeking help from the same mobster, the criminal has a proposal: a trip to India and a risky heist that will result in a payday that gets them both what they need. Thrown together and under pressure, Ryan and Onyx embark on a mission for diamonds, but they will discover much, much more.
I saw this interesting article last night discussing dream celebrity couplings. It’s a celeb writer’s pic for the couples that have been talked about but who aren’t actually together.
And while the article is somewhat fun, sort of like fantasy football, but with romance, it got me thinking about why we’re so obsessed with celebrities. While they’re people, just like the rest of us, they’re bigger than life movie personas and the Hollywood money they earn makes them seem of interest. And of course, Hollywood studios spend lots of money trying to convince us these people are awesome and to be admired. While the studio systems of the 40s, 50s and 60s ( one that had studio heads working hard to perfect the image of stars and sell them as the coolest version of the people we know; people we’d love to hang out with and might aspire to be) is gone, the idea persists that these are people we know and love and would connect with personally.
And if we know and love someone, we want to see them happy. And what better way to see them happy than in love? So, I think we see love with our favorite celebs and just want it to work. We constantly want to know if they’re happy in love, so we can enjoy the feeling of our friends in love. And when their love life goes kaput, our gossip urge takes over. Not necessarily our urge to spread gossip, our urge to know gossip. We can commiserate with their misery, and know that yeah, they are just like us. They can have as wicked a love lives as anyone else’s. But, of course we secretly want their love lives to succeed. Because it means that there are real people out there who do have it all.
I don’t subscribe to any celebrity gossip sites, but I do follow the celebrity news that makes headlines. I love John Legend & Chrissy Tiegan. And as a Buffy lover, it makes me happy every time I see Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze together looking happy. Like so many others, I was so sad to see Jennifer Garner & Ben Affleck break up. Mostly because she seemed so nice and down-to-earth. As an All My Children fan from childhood, I was disappointed recently to hear Josh Duhamel (who played Leo Dupres on AMC) and Fergie were separating. Again, it made me sad. I adored Josh on AMC and he seemed like such a nice guy on the show that I felt like he’d be a nice guy in person, so I just want him to have a nice happy love life.
Alas, the love lives of celebrities mirror the love lives of real people, because celebrities are real people. If we want happily ever after, we have to watch movies or read romance novels. It’s a good thing I like both. 🙂
I’ll be online chatting tonight at Barb’s PJ Party! The chat starts at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT, and lasts about an hour. I’ll be on with several other authors, and will be giving away an ebook copy of Beauty & Her Beastly Love. If you’d like to grab it, it’s on Amazon as both a print and ebook version.
If you’ve got a moment, I love it if you’d stop by.
May your love remain in bloom,