Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Author

Goals

Writing Update: 12 Sep 2015 #amplanning

DRB Coming Soon Image - 300x450
[Insert Giddy Laughing Here] I’m free. I just finished my ghostwriting story and sent it to my client. That means I can now focus on my own stuff and the thing I’m going to focus on first is the Eternal Truths Series (Time, Death, Creation, and Chaos). You’ll remember that Time is Eris, which I recently got back.

I’ll be tweaking Eris and working on the other titles for however long that takes. I just re-read my notes for the Chaos (aka Errita) book and got all excited. That is going to be the most fun to write because it crosses all the worlds of the multiverse, finally introducing them all like I should have done years ago.

Important Note: I think some people are a little confused about the Eternal Truths Series and think Kaylie, Eris’s sister, will be the next book. She’s not part of the series. She will get a book eventually but that book isn’t part of the Eternal Truths Series. Declan, Eris’s brother, also has a book coming but again that book isn’t part of the Eternal Truths Series. Yes, I know. I make things confusing. Sorry. ๐Ÿ˜›

, , ,

Personal Challenge: Vampire Movies

Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with writing… or does it?

I always tell people that if it has vampires in it, I’ll watch pretty much any movie. I may not like them all but I will watch them.

Due to this personality quirk, I have seen some fantastic vampire movies and I have seen some vampire movies that make me wish I had immortality just so I wouldn’t regret the time I wasted watching them.

Well, I’ve issued myself a challenge. I’m going to watch every vampire movie Netflix offers. I was browsing through the vampire movies section and I couldn’t pick one that caught my attention. Some of them were complete turn offs. BUT, I have a few vampire books coming up in my writing queue and I want to get into the neck-biting, blood-sucking mood.

Like all the other movies I watch, I will write up a review for my blog. Netflix has a LOT of vampire movies (thankfully some of them are on instant play so I don’t have to wait for the mail).

I have only one stipulation, if the movie sucks too badly, I’m not watching the whole thing. I refuse to torture myself with this challenge… too much. ๐Ÿ˜›

Just to start things off, I’m going to list off the vampire movies that I’ve already seen (that I can remember) and where they rate. That’ll set the tone for the coming reviews.

Awesome
(These are the ones I will watch over and over and never get tired of seeing them.)
– Blade
– Blade II
– Underworld
– Underworld 2
– Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
– Vampire Hunter D
– Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
– 30 Days of Night

Great
(These are the movies I had to get on DVD — or will get soon — because without them my vampire collection wouldn’t be complete and then I would feel guilty.)
– Bram Stoker’s Dracula
– Interview with a Vampire
– Queen of the Damned
– Dracula: The Dark Prince
– My Best Friend is a Vampire
– Once Bitten
– The Batman vs. Dracula
– Vampire In Brooklyn
– Twilight
– New Moon
– Eclipse
– Lost Boys
– Van Helsing

Good
(These are the movies I may watch again one day if I’m in a weird mood.)
– Blade Trinity
– Dracula III: Legacy
– Vampires: Los Muertos
– Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Movie
– The Breed
– Rise
– Lost Boys: The Tribe
– Daybreakers

Okay
(It was on TV and it beats getting up to put on a DVD — yes, I can be just that lazy at times.)
– Dracula II: Ascension
– Vampires
– Vampire Effect (Asian)
– Blood the Last Vampire (both live action & anime)
– Cirque de Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

Never Want to See Again
– Immortality

Now it’s time to add to each of these lists. I’m sure the “Never Want to See Again” list will grow by leaps and bounds. ๐Ÿ˜›

News: Eris is Finished

Update on Eris

Wow. It was Nov 2007 when I last posted about not reaching my NaNoWriMo goal for Eris. Here it is May 2009 and I finally finished.

That’s right. FINISHED!

After having to scrap pretty much all I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2007, re-work the plot to include two heroes instead of one, AND deal with a hero that wouldn’t cooperate so he blocked me until I did what he wanted, I am finished.

Eris is the introductory book of the Plain Sight Universe (called such because all the preternaturals hide in plain sight but no one notices them–it’s a giant urban fantasy universe :P) and is the first book in the Eternal Truths series. It weighs in at 151,500 words, which I know is long but there really is no way to cut that down unless I sacrifice some of the relationship development… which is pretty much the entire plot. ๐Ÿ˜€

When I did the self-edit, I was hoping to cut 30k words but I was only able to cut 4k. There are two chapters that I’m sure an editor would say are superfluous but they are needed to connect this book to two others in the Multiverse collection (beyond the books of the Eternal Truths series) and even if cut would only constitute like 5k words.

I’ve sent Eris off to my beta readers, who are long-suffering and have been waiting (and bugging me about it) forever. Once I hear back from them and do the tweaks they suggest, then it’s off to the agents.

So what’s next?

Today, I am vegging. I’m going to eat my subs and watch TV. After I act like a bump-on-a-log for a day or two, I’m diving back into it. Next on the agenda is probably Yolette, my dragon story (love love love), which is the introduction to the Abaranne Universe.

It’s already got 62k words written and my goal is to get it to 80k or higher (but below 100k). I just have to update it to my current writing-style (I’ve definitely changed since I first worked on this book waaaaaay back in 2003/4), add in a few more scenes, connect the whole thing into a coherent and cohesive whole, and then write the synopsis.

I say probably because it’s a toss up between that or finishing another Zenobia Renquist installment. I have a Zen-Ren book called Pet’s Pleasure that is a stand-alone sci-fi romance and currently clocks in at 69k. (Told you, I’ve been writing just not finishing.) Like Yolette, I want to get it over 80k (pretty much all my novel-length books will be over 80k, if I can manage it). And that’s not even a hard goal to reach considering I have several scenes outlined within the manuscript (where I got the word count) that need fleshing out, so hitting 80k is nothing but writing it.

Ultimately it depends on which book is talking to me the loudest when I sit down and start typing. ๐Ÿ˜€ I admit, without shame, that my characters rule me. When they start talking, I write so they leave me alone.

But for now, they are letting me take a break. So time to veg.

Goals: ERIS Update #6

Today’s the day but I didn’t finish. Even if I didn’t have to sleep for 8hrs and then go to work tonight, I wouldn’t finish today. BUT (big ‘but’) that doesn’t mean I’m giving up. I’m still going to finish Eris it’ll just take longer than five weeks. ๐Ÿ™‚ My challenge did help me get about 90% written. So that’s a huge step in the right direction.

Work on Eris has to be put on hold for a few days so I can do my Serenity edits and finish a novella or two. Taking a break should help me since I need to concentrate on something else for a little while.

In short, there will still be Eris updates until I finish–with interruptions for updates on the other stuff I’m doing. I’m doing the final run through and fleshing out the chapters. After a brief break, it shouldn’t take much longer to finish and I’m looking forward to seeing how the story evolves. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, stay tuned.

We now return to our regularly scheduled topic posts on Sunday.

Goals: ERIS Update #5

Well, I tried to make it but I was too tired to keep writing. When I get tired, words start disappearing even though I know I typed them. ;P

Last Week’s Goal: 57,700 – 62,700

Current Word Count: 55,100

This week there is no word count goal because the challenge ends
Friday, Nov 30th and the goal is to be finished. I don’t know what
length it will be so setting a word count is silly.

On the off chance that I don’t finish on the 30th, I plan to take a
break (a small one) and do my edits for SERENITY before returning to ERIS.

All-in-all, it’s coming along. all the major points are almost
written. I’m planning tonight to start from the beginning, string
everything together into a cohesive whole and add in whatever needs it
(descriptions, scene completions, etc).

Next Update – 30th Nov

Cya then

Goals: ERIS Update #4

I did it this time, just barely. I had to write almost 10,000 words in three days, but I reached my goal for the week. Lots has been going on with me but I didn’t want to miss my goal.

19 Nov 2007

Last Week’s Goal: 43,600 – 48,600

Current Word Count: 43,700 (<- just made it) Next Week’s Goal: 57,700 – 62,700 Next Update: 26 Nov 2007 It’s coming down to the wire. I’ve got two weeks left and a good chunk of story left to go. The good news is I’ve already written the ending. I just have to finish the middle, write in some lines to connect the chunks into a cohesive whole, and put in the actual chapter breaks with headings.

Goals: Eris Update #3

It’s a little disappointing to report that I didn’t make last week’s goal. I had some real life stuff going on but the real reason is because I got stumped.

My plot for Eris started to resemble a plot for one of my other books that I have planned and I didn’t like that. My other story is fun and great and I can’t wait to get to it, but I didn’t want two stories being similar to each other. So, I got stumped and stopped writing.

Then, Saturday morning at work (great place for brainstorming), I came up with a revamp of my other story that allowed me to keep Eris going on its current path. Life is a little bit happier (minus missing my goal) and my other story has a stronger plot (I think).

But anywho. On to the stats:

12 Nov 2007

Last Week’s Goal: 33,000 – 38,000

Current Word Count: 29,600

Next Week’s Goal: 43,600 – 48,600

Next Update: 19 Nov 2007

Goals: ERIS Upate #2

Side note: In case it wasn’t already obvious by the lack of an actual topic post, the topics are on hold this month. I don’t want to break my concentration long enough to write out a topic but they will return when I’m done.

So…

I’m doing pretty well. I had to bust out 4000 words yesterday morning before I went to bed for the day but I made my goal. I even got some writing in before work and on my breaks (and I’m gonna do a little more before I go to sleep). ๐Ÿ™‚

I swear, having to report to you guys (as it were) is keeping me on the ball. But it’s still not like work (the writing I mean). I’m having fun learning more about my characters and having to push forward has made me streamline the telling of the story a whole lot more (I had some convoluted thing I wanted to do but it got thrown out, which is for the best).

04 Nov 2007

Last Week’s Goal: 18,100 – 23,100

Current Word Count: 19,000

Goal Word Count: 33,000 – 38,000

Next Update: 12 Nov 2007

See you then!

Goals: ERIS Update

It’s time to start this challenge. Every Monday I will post on my progress. Hopefully I will never lapse on a goal. ๐Ÿ™‚

29 Oct 2007 (week one):

Current Word Count: 4100

Goal Word Count: 18100 – 23100

Next Update: 05 Nov 2007

Goals: ERIS in a Month

I’m officially doing my own version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I can’t participate in the actual thing because my story is already started, but the idea of it has me inspired.

Here’s the deal:
~ I have a personal deadline of a novel-every-3mths and the next deadline is November (fun coincidence, but a coincidence nonetheless). This is the only way I could think of to get all my planned works finished in a decent amount of time without anymore huge gaps between releases. (This is novels only, the novellas are whenever I feel like writing one.)

At first I was going to give up and let the deadline lapse, but — like I said — NaNoWriMo inspired me. I have five weeks until the end of November and I’m sure I can get Eris finished in that amount of time. The story is there (in my head), it just needs me to write it. Since I usually do some of my best work under pressure, I’m going to do this too.

Here’s the goal:
~ Every week — Monday thru Sunday — I shall write 14k-19k words. I’m not sure of the final length of Eris, but the dynamics of the story should make it longer than Serenity (64k words) but shorter than Adrienne (97k words). 14k-19k words a week (2k-3k words a day) would put the story between 70k-95k words final and that’s plenty to get the story finished.

Every Monday I will post an update on my progress. Hopefully, come the end of November, I will post that I’ve finished and about to send it off to my beta readers.

Slight Snafu:
~ My edits for Serenity start in November (not sure when in Nov) as well. So I’ll be working around that. But, working on two things at once will keep me from getting bored with one or the other.

I’m the type of person who will procrastinate by doing something else that needs doing, so both projects should benefit. Either that, or I’ll get a lot of novellas written in the month of Nov. We’ll see. ๐Ÿ™‚

This goal starts 29 October 2007 and ends 30 November 2007. Afterwards, I want to never let another 3mth deadline lapse again. My thinking is simple: If I can write a novel in one month, then three months is plenty of time.

Bad Boys of Romance

Hey wait a minute, what happened to the Romance in Video Games topic?

I know, I know. I said I would do that but the topic has stumped me and I haven’t done any research. So, I’m switching to another topic that is more opinion-oriented than research. Not to mention, I didn’t even blog last week. If you’re going to jump on my case… *ahem*

Anywho…

BAD BOYS OF ROMANCE:
VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, AND OTHER MALE-CREATURES THAT BUMP THE NIGHT

Everyone always asks if vampire romance will ever lose its audience. My answer: NOT FRIGGIN’ LIKELY. It’s cliche’d to Hell and back and every story has supposedly been done, but still more are coming and people buy them.

Why?

Simple: Women love a bad boy. Women love the idea of a rough and tumble, hards as nails, take no prisoners hero (so long as he takes out the garbage). Vampires and werewolves et al are the ultimate bad boys.

Vampires – Centuries old man who has learned most of the truths of life, including how to please a woman with only a few touches. Usually dark and moody, this bad boy will romance the heroine out of her blood and then her heart.

His inhuman strength and mysterious powers have heroines the world over treading the line of fear and desire. And, readers tread the line with her, wondering how she’ll overcome his need for blood (usually hers) or how he’ll overcome his dark nature to love (usually once again… I should do a topic on clichรฉs next).

Whether he fries in the sun or turns into a bat, almost every woman wants the immortal lover who will promise them forever youth and forever love. Does that say something psychologically about the women who read vampire romances? Probably, but I only took one psych course and I don’t care what Freud thinks.

If the draw of forever youth and forever love cause psychological questions, then what about the women who love the fuzzy boys? I’m talking therianthropes. No, not lycanthropes. Lycanthrope is the fancy way of saying werewolf. Therianthrope is the universal term for wereanimal. No matter the flavor, women love those shifter boys.

Unfortunately (in my mind), the flavor seems to be wolf more often than anything else. Are wolves just sexier than any other carnivorous animal, or something? Personally, I like tigers. Or maybe, it’s the believability factor. If you see a random wolf (albeit bigger than normal) running the streets at night, you might mistake it for a dog and continue on your way. If you see a random tiger roaming the streets at night, I’d like to think you’d notice and have some sort of reaction… but back to the topic.

Therianthropes – Half man, half beast (usually carnivorous mammalian). These bad boys have to struggle with their inner beast (literally) all the time. The introduction of the heroine, who throws them into a tailspin of desire, makes that struggle even harder. She wants to be with him and he wants to keep her from danger — namely him.

There are so many factors that draw readers to this little slice of paranormal heaven. How will she find out his secret? Will she freak or take it in stride? Will he give her the chance to react or run away, trying to be noble? Will they go at it while he’s changed?

Frankly, that last question is the most important (to me and most of my friends). What’s the point of having a fuzzy boyfriend if you never get to sleep with him when he’s changed? It’s a taste of the taboo while not really breaking any moral laws.

Every publisher says it on their submissions page: no beastiality but shifters and sentient animals are okay. He’s still an animal but that he turns human or can hold a conversation makes this sex scene between woman and beast completely palatable and totally wanted.

And what about the other guys: demons, gargoyles, aliens, ghosts, dark fey, etc. Maybe it’s not that these guys are bad boys at all. Maybe it’s the built-in, ready made “flaw”. The author could make this hero the most caring and attentive man in the universe but that one flaw grounds him for the reader and makes him believable.

I’m not saying writing paranormal heroes is easier than contemporary heroes, not at all. But that ready-made flaw adds a whole new dimension to the story. Now, all of a sudden, the heroine has to overcome their emotional baggage and some physical baggage (blood drinking, shape-shifting, lack of corporeal form, etc) as well.

In the end, what’s the draw to a story you’ve probably read a hundred times already? To a hero who has the same sob story as the rest of them? That’s simple. It’s not the theme, it’s the genre. ROMANCE. It doesn’t matter if the hero is a king on some unknown planet or a desk jockey working 9-5 on Earth, we (the reader) want our emotional rollercoaster with the HEA at the end. If the hero happens to turn into a giant cat, drink blood to survive, or have horns and a tail, who cares? I want to know that the heroine can see passed all of that to the man she loves and wants to be with forever.

—————————————–

Since I already said it, I’m doing clichรฉs next week. There are tons of them and I’ll probably forget a whole bunch, but I’m going to talk about them.

As for my goals, I did a pretty good job with the last set. Kashmir is finished and submitted and I’m waiting to hear back. My goody bags were mailed and most (if not all, I haven’t heard back from some people) were received. I got my newsletter written but now it’s time to write another one. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also managed to get my living looking good. And the mother of all goals: I READ SOMETHING. Yes, sirree bob, you read that right. I actually read something. Multiple somethings. Not having a job is making it easier to read and write at the same time. Not saying I want to stay day-jobless but I’m using my current situation to its advantage.

This weeks goals (these are contingent on me being day-jobless for another week):
1 – Finish Serenity revisions. If you keep up with other stuff besides my blog (or check my site), I’m in the middle of revising Serenity, implementing changes I know need to be made, to make my editor’s life a life a little easier. I’m almost half-way done and should finish in a few days if I just work on it instead of staring off into space.

2 – Finish my submission for Pink Chair Diaries. I’ve been invited to submit a free story (5000 words or less). I’ve already come up with two, but I need to finish them. It’s fun writing to a specific theme and I’m sure I’ll come up with more stories.

3 – Read some more. Brazen by Maya Banks comes out tomorrow (actually late tonight) from Samhain Publishing, Ltd., so I’ll be accomplishing this goal fairly soon.

and something a little more mundane

4 – Clean my study. I can barely walk in here and the mess is distracting me. It’s time to get organized so I can mess it up again, thus starting the process all over again.

Romance Rating System

It has come to my attention that the romance community needs to get together and come up with a rating system. Sure, sure, every publisher has their own. I mean a rating system that is agreed upon and implemented straight across the board for EVERY romance from the inspirational and YA to erotic and risque. Frankly all books should have ratings just like movies and video games, but I’m not getting into all books, just romance.

I mentioned movies and video games. They each have an entity (MPAA – Motion Picture Association of America, ESRB – Entertainment Software Rating Board) that takes care of defining and enforcing ratings and romance should have one too. I don’t mean RWA. They have a purpose and they are doing it so let’s not pile more on them. A whole new entity needs to be born to tackle this job.

First off, let’s get one thing straight–the definition of ROMANCE as a genre in literature. Pretty much every where I’ve looked agrees on one thing straight across the board: to be classified as a Romance, a work of literature must have a HAPPILY EVER AFTER (HEA) ending.

I put major emphasis on the HEA because there are many books with plots that “centers around two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work” (as defined by RWA). Not all those books have an HEA–chicklit, love stories, pretty much anything in the drama section–and thus ARE NOT Romance and I’m not talking about those (think GONE WITH THE WIND or BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY).

Is that cleared up? Good, great. Let’s move on.

For a loooooong time, erotic literature was tucked away in the back dusty part of the bookstore far away from the Romance section. People had to search low (sometimes really low) to find it then it was put in a nondescript, dark bag so others wouldn’t know they bought it. Times have changed. Thanks in large part to epublishers, it has settled in nicely in the Romance section of the bookstore and is now known as Erotic Romance instead of erotica. Though I’m sure there is still some erotica out there that is still pure sex with no plot and no other goal than to get someone hot and bothered, I’m not talking about those. ๐Ÿ™‚ (There’s a lot I’m not talking about, huh?)

AND

Since women (and some men) have put pen to paper to write out these works of romantic relationship bliss, there have always been people pissing and moaning about language, violence, and rape. My goal is to shut them up as best as I can. As MPAA and ESRB (especially ESRB) have proved, some people won’t read ratings or, if they read them, they don’t take the time to understand them. Those people are stupid and should have to wear a sign (thank you, Mr. Engvall). They will complain no matter what but with a universal Romance rating system, they look stupider the more they complain.

First a name. Romance Genre Rating System (RGRS… rigors, huh?) or Genre Romance Rating Team (GRRT… uh, I think the Kellogg’s people would have something to say about that) or Romance Genre Rating Board (RGRB… does anyone else see “rug rub”… uh… that’s so appropriate yet sooo wrong).

You know what, screw the name until later. Let’s get to the ratings.

MPAA has five ratings (G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17) while ESRB has six (eC, E, E-10+, T, M, Ao) not to mention the dozens of content descriptors. Let’s see how many Romance will get (according to me).

I’d just like to say I went to several epublisher sites and the definition of Sweet changed with each site. But those are the words they like and we’re going to stick with them.

Sweet, Sensual, Spicy, Hot, Carnal, Steamy, Sizzling, Sextreme, Scorching, Graphic, Erotic, Intense, Sensuous, Erotic, Xtreme — these are just a few of the MANY (let’s emphasize that word a lot) MANY rating categories that different publishers use. Some publishers don’t even use ratings, they just have warnings or levels.

Some of the above are ratings and some of the them are content descriptors. I’m picking what makes sense, you don’t like it… well, leave a comment or get started with that committee. ;P

———————————-
RATINGS (as I see them) OF ROMANCE

FRESH (Fr) – No, not that kid you had to slap because he said your butt looked hot in those jeans. FRESH as in new, untainted, (or as Miriam-Webster put it) “having its original qualities unimpaired” — IE VIRGIN. Pretty much all YA would fit into this category. There might be a few kisses and TALK of going further but nothing is described and there are no closed doors (or open doors, for that matter). This rating is all sighs and hearts and cherubs.

SWEET (Sw) – Closed doors all the way. Sure the hero and heroine are going at it, but you NEVER get to see it. The author will allude to it, but that’s it. The author left EVERYTHING totally to your imagination so they could get on with the non-physical side of the relationship and the plot.

SENSUAL (Sn) – Euphemisms, some closed doors, and lots of petting (heavy and otherwise). The hero and heroine have one or two sex scenes described with elusive language and then the rest is alluded to or behind closed doors. (Most everything I write falls into this rating).

STEAMY (St) – This is the “unconventional” relationships — three/foursomes+, male-male, female-female, etc. BUT like sensual there are euphemisms, closed doors and petting. Just because you’re in a relationship that doesn’t fit into the category of “normal” doesn’t mean you have to have a potty mouth (I got a few in this category too… just not finished yet… teehee).

SIZZLING (Sz) – No closed doors. Every time the author gets to the hero and heroine going at, it’s described. Books in this rating have a few more sex scenes than the ones before (duuuuh). The sex scene language is a bit graphic because there are no euphemisms. This is about the time you start seeing a little toy play, possibly someone getting tied up (or down), and a little masturbation.

HOT (Ht) – This is the “unconventional” relationships version of Sizzling. Don’t need to say much more than that. (Are you seeing a trend yet?)

SCORCHING (Sc) – No division of conventional and unconventional here. Let’s everybody join in the fun of EXPLICIT, GRAPHIC LANGUAGE. All the relationships are equal in this rating, ’cause frankly, if you got this far, why does it matter? Sex scenes are more frequent (like every chapter) and the author goes into almost clinical detail about the *snicker* ins and outs of the act. If you don’t need some alone time (or sig other time) after this book, there’s something wrong with you (or did you skip over the sex to get back to the plot?)

EXTREME (Xt) – All you BDSM, fetishing types, this is your rating. You didn’t just tie him up, you hanged him from the ceiling and spanked him with a feather boa… whoa O.O! Okay, backing off that one. You get the idea. This is everything that Mommy and Daddy never talked about and you have to go the “fun” side of the adult video store to find. The language is totally graphic and explicit and so are the sex scenes. As some of the epublishers put it — “not for the faint of heart”. this is the stereotypical erotica everyone is used to but with that HEA we love so much.
———————————–

But what about the rape and violence and… I’m getting to that. Hold your horses (this won’t take long since this is a looooooooong post). Those little things are known as descriptors. You slap that in the little box after you give it a rating, just to warn people about what they should expect in that particular book (no guess work). Like when you go to a R-rated movie and it says for violence and language. You know there’s no nudity or sex because they didn’t warn you about it. Same thing here. Just to make life simple, descriptors should be one or two words ONLY.

Some (but not a list of all) descriptors might be: rape, mild rape (yes there is mild rape, as in almost happened but not really), adult language (not to be confused with graphic language, I’m talking cursing here, people), spanking, toy play, forcing (see previous post), masturbation, violence, death, killing (no this isn’t the same as death), sentient animals, shape-shifting, etc ad nauseam.

What do you think? Do-able? Let’s work together on this. I think it’s something that can span across every publisher (e and print) and really help the genre towards more understanding (within and with out). Ultimately though, I just want the bitching to stop.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to start something like this, I’d love to get in on it (especially since I’ve already defined the rating system).

Next week’s topic:
Romance in video games, not just movies. Romance novels get turned into shows, movies, and made for tv movies all the time, why not video games? Join me for a look at what is and what could be. ๐Ÿ™‚

Rape in Romance

Let’s see. I’m a day late, but since I had a mini post, that’s okay. ๐Ÿ™‚ Adrienne was ousted from the MBaM list shortly after hitting #8 and hasn’t been back. I’m hoping it’ll make a come back once I get a review or two, but for now it’s off the list.

I don’t even know if I should mention how I did on my goals for last week. I’m still working on implementing my revisions in Kashmir. I spent most of today on it and decided to take a break and write this. I’m on page 79 of 164, so it shouldn’t take me that much longer.

I didn’t touch my bookmarks and I’m still sitting on my goodie bags. Bad me. I did get the new promo I ordered and it’s lovely. I ordered one of Vista Print’s free t-shirts and that turned out great. I’m going to order a few more and give them out as prizes.

I didn’t read a thing except Kashmir (and some of my other unfinished manuscripts).

But, I have hope. You see, dear reader, I am transitioning to a new day job so this is my last week at my current one. Before I start my new day job, I’ll be taking a week off where I plan to finish a lot of stuff that’s had to be put on hold because I don’t have enough time. So, happy on that note. ๐Ÿ™‚

On to the topic:

RAPE IN ROMANCE

Before I cover the romance part of this, I’d like to drop a few non-romantic facts:
#1 – “Approximately 10-14% of married women are raped by their husbands in the United States. Historically, most rape statutes read that rape was forced sexual intercourse with a woman not your wife, thus granting husbands a license to rape. On July 5, 1993, marital rape became a crime in all 50 states, under at least one section of the sexual offense codes.” http://www.vawnet.org/DomesticViolence/Research/VAWnetDocs/AR_mrape.php

#2 – “The United States Supreme Court found sexually discriminatory laws to be illegal for the first time in the early 1970s. Before that time, discrimination against women was not only legal but also considered reasonable by many people.” http://www.womenmatter.com/womrights_lifeissues.htm

#3 – “Until the late 1960s, violence against women was not considered an important issue. Since most violence against women takes place in the home, it was generally considered “a private matter.” Many people thought that neighbors, friends, family and especially the government had no right to interfere.”
http://www.womenmatter.com/womrights_lifeissues.htm

Why did I list these facts? Well, which romances have the most rape in them?

Easy. Period romances.

Why?

Because no woman born and raised in this day and age would date a man who raped and/or abused her — at least, that’s the popular opinion according to most of the forums I’ve visited. I’m sure everyone’s read about or heard of or even knows a woman in an unhealthy relationship and said woman is doing nothing to get out of it despite people trying to help her.

But that’s a whole other topic, back to romantic fiction (no tangents in this one, sorry). Many readers seem to forget, or they just don’t know, that before the early 1900s women weren’t people, they were property and everyone knew that.

It’s not that the heroine is TSTL (too stupid to live) if she falls for the guy that raped her three chapters ago or that she’s “accepting” of it. That was the way things were. Hell, it’s only in the last few decades that rape stopped being the victim’s fault — even though some court cases still make it seem like that.

The heroine may be pissed that the hero forced himself on her for whatever reason, but who’s she going to tell that would care? She can’t tell the cops, since they’ve got better things to do than worry about one lone woman who doesn’t know to stay home where she belongs and not talk to strangers. She can’t tell her family, because they’d just drag the jerk who raped her to the altar and force him to marry her. What did that solve? Now the hero’s been given legal permission to rape her whenever he feels like it.

Hey, wait a minute. That’s not romantic at all.

Nope, it’s not. I’m glad to say I’ve never read a romance like that. I have, however, read a few with — what I like to call — forced sexual pleasure. The hero may start off forcing the heroine but the act becomes consensual somewhere in the middle. Hey, if you can start out consenting and change your mind, then you can start out non-consenting and change your mind. Let’s not have any double standards.

Personally, I love those romances: Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux, Secret Fire by Johanna Lindsey, Untamed by Elizabeth Lowell and on and on. If I kept going, I’d be naming off my entire book collection. ;P

I do not consider forced sexual pleasure and rape to be in the same category with each other. One is for the gratification of both and the other is for the gratification of one. If the heroine or hero (yes, men can be raped and I’m not talking gay sex either) isn’t enjoying the ride and never enjoys the ride then I’m not sure why they stuck with their partner.

I know there are a few readers who get bent out of shape over a book that has forced sexual pleasure and I can’t see why. There was an HEA and the heroine probably ended up jumping the hero a few pages later now that he’s “liberated” her — the entire “you started it” mentality.

But, I don’t think it’s the rape or forced pleasure that the reader has a problem with so much as the unexpectedness of it. Most e-publishers have warnings on their books about content, but not every book has something like that. You don’t know what you’re reading until you get to it and then you get pissed off.

I propose a romance rating system. Yes, yes, many publishers have their own rating systems. Those are based on the publishers standards and are all relative. One person’s hot could be another person’s smoldering and so on and so forth. I say let’s have a universal rating system like the movies and video games.

However, that’s next week’s topic. ๐Ÿ™‚

My goals for this week:

1 – Finish Kashmir and get it to my beta readers.

2 – READ SOMETHING!

3 – Get stuff in the mail.

4 – Write my newsletter.

Love vs. Hate: Volatile Relationships in Romance

Last Week’s Goals:
I did much better this time around. ๐Ÿ™‚ I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It rocked! A great ending to a wonderful series. I’m sad to see it go but happy that the madness is over.

I got Desta H.’s woven bookmark in the mail but I didn’t finish the other bookmarks in that particular series (inkle weaving means I have to do them in one continuous band then cut them apart). One of my threads snapped and I couldn’t piece it back together. I sacrificed about seven inches of thread. *sigh*. I started a new band with the stronger thread. The metallic is pretty but obviously too thin for inkle weaving. I’ll do something else with it.

I did get stuff in the mail but real life intruded so I’m still working on Kashmir‘s revisions. I jumped ahead and did the end, so I only have like ten pages to go (that’ll be finished today then I can start implementing them).

In sales news, Adrienne got bumped to #10 on MBaM’s bestseller list for about three days. It’s back at #9 again. I’m hoping all the places I’m sending paper promo will help boost my sales. I’ve also started advertising the interracial aspect since Samhain only promotes the fantasy part. My editor and a happy reader both pointed out that a Black heroine with an Asian hero is rare in romance. The uniqueness of it should generate more readers (I hope).

On to the topic of the day…

LOVE VS. HATE: VOLATILE RELATIONSHIPS IN ROMANCE
(and why I love them)

We’ve all seen it. The hero is a complete jerk to the heroine thru most of the book, but she sticks with him all because his attitude was brought about by his great love for her. That’s the clichรฉ and I LOVE it beyond belief.

Why do I love it?

It makes more sense. I know fiction is a way to escape reality but in this, I need a little real to make the fantasy stick. Most relationships aren’t love-at-first-sight, happily-ever-after from beginning to end–I’m talking real life relationships.

Hell, moving in together is one way to doom a relationship. He’s a dream come true until you find out he likes to leave his dirty underwear on the couch and his biohazard inducing sneakers in the bedroom. Let’s not make the ladies feel left out. Your man thinks you make the sun rise and the birds sing until he finds out you can’t/won’t cook and won’t stop nagging him about…EVERYTHING.

See? This goes both ways. I’m fair like that.

Art is supposed to imitate life (and vice versa). In reality, most people in relationships want to do even half the stuff heroes and heroines do to each other in books (not just talking sex here).

Love and Hate are two of the strongest emotions in the universe. Love inspires grandmothers to lift cars off their grandchildren (and lots of adrenaline) and hate… well, if you watch the news, you know what hate can do.

Two such strong emotions are irrevocably connected to one another. Like the old saying goes: There’s a thin line between love and hate (there’s also a movie by the same title). ๐Ÿ˜‰ Read a few Harry Potter fanfics (if you’re really bored and can’t find anything else to do). Most of them have Harry hooking up with Draco. I know. The mental image makes your brain freeze a little.

It’s a commonly held belief–that is tried and tested over centuries–that love can lead to hate and hate can lead to love. And, so long as I’m dropping sayings. Let’s try this one: You always hurt the ones you love. Many a hero in many a romance subscribe to that particular saying.

I know many readers argue if the hero really loved the heroine then he wouldn’t hurt her–physically, mentally, or otherwise. To them, I say if the hero and heroine are in such a great relationship from the word go, why is the book so long?

Really. If that’s the type of relationship they have, then nothing can stop them from having it and I don’t even know why I’m bothering to read about it. Those type of relationships in romance novels always have outside conflict only–usually people trying to keep them apart for whatever reason.

That’s too easy, in my mind. I’d rather read about a heroine and hero having to get over themselves in order to make their relationship work. Everyone brings something fun to the table. My fun things may not mesh well with your fun things and some of the fun things have to be thrown out or pushed aside to make the relationship work. BUT while we’re sifting thru the fun things, we have to solve this crime or find this missing treasure or get away from the mutant bounty hunters that are after us.

I’m not saying I don’t want external conflict, I’m saying I want them both. I want love and hate. I want internal and external. I want the heroine to punch the hero in the mouth when he calls her a nagging, selfish bitch then screw him senseless when he apologizes for being an overbearing, chauvinistic ass. That’s not how it works in real life, but that’s where the fun of fiction comes along. He can smack her a good one and she can kick him in the nuts and they’re both hot for each other and madly in love five paragraphs later.

My favorite types of books are about the alpha male who has to come to terms with the fact that he’s powerless against a woman who may or may not be an alpha in her own right. It’s even better with a woman who isn’t an alpha at all (and may even be scared of the hero), because his male ego gets all bent out of shape that such a harmless woman can get him all tangled up in his underwear with just a glance.

Romances with violent relationships aren’t promoting that kind of behavior and the authors know most of this stuff wouldn’t fly in real life. This is fiction. No holds barred. Shoot your vampire boyfriend in the head when you catch him sucking some other chicks neck–he’ll heal. Toss her ass out a window after you heal from getting shot in the head–the grass will cushion the fall. If it doesn’t, then turn her and you can ask for forgiveness later.

And think about this:
How many times have you said to yourself or your friends, “If s/he does -blank- one more time, I’ll kill her/him.” You aren’t really going to kill your partner no matter what they do to piss you off (I hope). That’d end with you in jail after being plastered all over the news as some kind of nut. We say it to relieve or spleen then imagine it to blow off some steam. Fictional characters actually get to indulge a little.

To all those people who say you’d never forgive your man if he did whatever the hero in a romance did, you don’t know that for sure. We never know how we’ll react to something until it happens. You talk big and brag about the way it’ll be IF it happens. Until–and/or if–it happens, there’s no way to know. You know how you want to react but your real reaction only comes after it happens. Unfamiliar territory and stress make us do weird things.

And that leaves us with a great lead-in for next week’s topic (I know you saw it coming). It’s a push-button topic that will never, ever be resolved… Rape in Romance.

I ranted a little but longer than I thought and got a little sidetracked, but that’s okay so long as you enjoyed the ride.

My goals for this week:

1 – As the last few weeks. Finish up Kashmir revisions (that’s actually my goal for today) and get them implemented. I already know I won’t be finished with implementation by next Saturday (which seems to be my blogging day), but I hope to be a good ways thru it.

2 – Start and finish my new batch of woven bookmarks. I’m including a woven bookmark with my plush panther gift that will be sent off to a giveaway. The deadline is coming up and I need to finish. I’ll probably work on it tomorrow. Maybe a little today if I get burnt out on Kashmir.

3 – Mail off gifts and goodie bags. The people on my mailing list are getting my left over goodie bags (left over from the book launch of doom). Just one of the fun bonuses for being on my mailing list. I need to pull names and get those sent. I’d love to give one to everyone but I only have a few left over.

4 – Read. I’m not going to say what. Anything. I was supposed to have a one book a week reading schedule and I never started. I need to. Actually, it’s one book or three novellas a week. My list is growing and I’m not doing anything to make it smaller. So… reading–yes.

Hoarding Addresses

First, Adrienne hit #9 on MBaM’s bestseller list on July 17th and has stayed there. Thank you all for enjoying my work. I’m tremendously glad you like it (I can’t say that enough).

Second, I totally didn’t get to the goals I listed last week. I’m still working on my revisions (which means I haven’t implemented them yet), I didn’t get a chance to read anything because I’ve been working on my revisions in all my free time, and I didn’t finish the bookmarks. Now, I did see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and post the review on my LJ and I did get my newsletter written.

I’m glad I didn’t get to my bookmarks because only one person entered the contest and I decided to change the design so I could include one with the gift I’m sending to another author’s prize giveaway. I’m contributing a small plush panther (because of Feyr) with a bookmark and some promo stuff. I’m going to come up with a themed gift for every book. I’m kind of stumped on what I should give for Serenity, but I’ll figure it out later.

On to the topic…

HOARDING ADDRESSES

When Adrienne got contracted, I started gathering up addresses of friends and family and making sure they were accurate. That wasn’t too hard since I send out X-Mas cards every year. If they bounce back then the address is crap and I won’t send to that person again until I get a valid address.

On top of that, I added a mailing list function to my website to get even more snail mail addresses from those people willing to give me that info. Thanks to all the people who entered my mailing list (snail mail and email). They get little extras every now and again. ๐Ÿ™‚

I thought that was the end of it. Nope. Baha W., a co-worker of mine at my day job, gave me the best advice ever. He told me to use the addresses on business cards that I get. If someone gives me a business card and it has their address, mail them stuff. I only plan to mail promo postcards, but it’s still one more person seeing my book ad and thinking about buying.

I’m not a business card type of person. People gave them to me and I would shove them in my purse and forget about them. No more. I’ve started searching for business cards. I welcome them and gladly, especially those with addresses on them. Hell, even the ones with email addresses are fair game. I’ll email them a promo just the same.

Every little bit helps and you never know what people read or will read unless you give them the opportunity. Another author suggested putting bookmarks in with all my bills. I don’t normally mail my bills (age of internet and all that), but a handful of them I do and those lucky people (whoever opens the letter) will get a bookmark. I wrangled my friend into including my bookmarks with her bills too.

I might slip them into my Netflix envelopes too. ;P Nothing is safe. I bought all this promo stuff and it does no good sitting around my study. Actually, I didn’t buy a lot. Most of what I’ve ordered was ordered with a specific purpose in mind (lots of people having conventions and asking for promo stuff for goody bags).

That’s my Hoarding Addresses rant.

Now, this time I plan to set some realistic goals. ๐Ÿ™‚

1 – Read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It’ll be here in a few hours and I plan to read it…the whole thing. I won’t stop until I’m done. If I don’t do it this way (which is no big deal because this is how I read anyway), I won’t be able to get on the internet or watch TV. People don’t know how to keep their mouths shut and I know someone is going to blab the ending.

2 – Finish my woven bookmarks. I told Desta H. that I’d have her prize for entering my contest in the mail on Monday and by God, I will. I’ve set aside all of Sunday to get it done, since today (Saturday) is Harry Potter day.

3 – Finish my revisions for Kashmir. This time I mean it. I should be done this week. I only have forty more pages. I think I’m going to lapse on my end of July personal deadline (totally finished and submitted) but not by much. *shrug* Oh well, I tried but I don’t want to rush.

4 – Get stuff in the mail. I have several things sitting around my study that need to be mailed. Promo stuff for those conventions I mentioned earlier.

I’m pretty sure those goals I can finish. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next week’s topic: Love vs. Hate: Volatile relationships in romance and why I love them.

Previous Posts