Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Romance Novels and Sex

I've recently been seeing a trend in romance novels away from the "open door" themes. One author, in particular, is now retooling her previous novels to a "sweet" approach, incorporating help from her daughter to tone down the language and close that door (or possibly even remove references to sex altogether - I haven't read her just-released sweet version). I've seen several other authors following that same vein.

Just a few years ago, publishers and editors were insisting on "going there," adding steam to romance novels. My own editor, while I was writing COOKIE THERAPY, told me I needed to include those things I'd left out, open the bedroom door. Now some authors are looking to to reverse the course as a way to introduce younger women "safely" to the genre.

I'm not one who believes in "the requisite sex scene." I've read my share of steamy romances, and I've read my share of sweet romances. The operative word here is romance. You don't have to have sex to make the book romantic. Sex isn't the same as romance. One of my cohorts recently had a review where a reader told her "too much plot, not enough romance." She believes she covered the romance angle, so her interpretation was "not enough sex." Is she right?

I grew up reading Victoria Holt, gothic romances. In all of the books she wrote, there are maybe two that make direct reference to sex (and she wrote dozens). One was a case of kidnap and rape (done the way only Victoria Holt could), and the other was a case of the woman not willing to acquiesce without the sanctity of marriage. While everyone thought the hero was creating a sham marriage, it turned out to be real, and the very vague bedroom references were important to validate the birth of a child which would complicate the fact the hero was supposed to marry someone else for political reasons. In both of those books, the door was effectively shut, without all the explicit detail you read today, but the heroes were just as romantic. Kristan Higgins is a good example of "closed door" books today, and her heroes definitely create throbbing hearts. In my most recent book, THE TWINS, the hero isn't able to "perform" due to his injuries, which made the decision in that book easy. Is Jared romantic? I think so!

As I continue my writing journey, I thought I'd reach out to my readers. Do you like the steamy bits? Or is that trend passing? Would you prefer to get back to the romantic traits without the chemical combustion? Are you a mom who wants to pass your love of romance on to her kids but don't want to subject them to flying body parts? 

I'd love to hear what you think!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My Brain Drain means you win

We're coming down to the final couple of weeks to the deadline, the point where I'm running on autopilot. The tank is empty. My analogy of the week is one of a ball retriever on a driving range - picture me riding around in a little cart picking up balls while every pad on the driving range is occupied and people are taking target practice at me. Yep. That's about how I feel. So while I'm ducking and bobbing and weaving and trying to find my way back to safety, I thought I'd give out some love for sticking with me through the craziness.

If you haven't yet picked up your copy of THE TWINS, I have Smashwords coupons! How do you get one? Use the Rafflecopter link to enter the last names of the families in the Epitaph series, Kevin's family and Amy's family.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you've read EPITAPH, don't forgot to share what you thought of it. Tell me. Tell your friends. Post a review. If you hated it, tell me how to make it better. If you loved it, tell everyone you know to buy it!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

"Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain"

For those of you Wizard of Oz fans...

Many authors prefer to hide behind the curtain, tucked away in a cubbyhole, writing. One of the latest trends is doing Facebook Live posts. The marketers say we should be putting our face out there. Facebook says they will give us priority if we are willing to step out from behind the proverbial curtain.

With the new release, I figured I'd give it to try. At least I had "something" to talk about. In case you missed it, this was my first attempt, chipmunk cheeks and all. Now I can say I've done it. Were the marketers right? I did get a lot of impressions - people checking it out, whether as a result of Facebook saying, "Hey, look! Live streaming video!" or because people really are interested, I couldn't tell you. I've gotten the same number of impressions on other "interesting" posts.

What do you think? Do you like seeing your favorite authors/celebs live?


Now that I know how to do it, should I schedule "live" Q&A/Facebook chat?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Technical Difficulties


Here is the new Amazon Link to THE TWINS

And due to technical difficulties, it appears that Amazon has lost the ebook version of THE TWINS. Hoping it will be restored to the site soon (and hoping the link will be the same as well). I'll keep you posted, and if the link changes, I will update THIS POST.

Blazing Saddles?


Remember Madeline Kahn's  "I'm Tired!"

Yes, I'm at the point again, that time of year when the day job dominates my life (this is when I earn my pay.)

Did you know the second in the Epitaph series came out yesterday? If you subscribe to my newsletter, you got a reminder (and a little bonus!). Thanks for your support, and I hope you'll let me know what you think of it!

So while I'm struggling to balance work and life and the night job (did you know I write books?), I'm going to leave you with Lili Von Shtupp because ....

I'm Tired!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

New Release Jitters

Josh Stewart
Here we go again. Next Tuesday, THE TWINS (Epitaph 2) enters the real world. I get so nervous! Will you like reading it as much as I loved writing it? (If you do, please leave me a review! And even if you didn't...) I have to tell you I had a ball writing Jared (the hero). Have you ever seen Criminal Minds? JJ's husband, Will? I love the way he talks. Oh, yeah. Back to the book.

Want another little snippet to whet your appetite? (Have you ordered your copy yet? Links are on the web page.)

   Jared pushed to his feet once more, retrieved the remaining tools on the dining room table and stuck them in his pocket, then crutched to his chair. As he resumed his seat, his phone rang with Celine Dion’s My Angel—the  lovely Siobhan McCormick. He knew her last name now.
   “Hallo?” he answered.
   “Sorry I missed your call.”
   “I was worried I might have scared you off, with all my bruises and bandages and scars.”
   She was silent a moment.
   “I’m here,” she said softly.
   “Why didn’t you tell me who you were?”
   “How did you know it was me?”
   He smiled. “Well, I didn’t place your voice at first, but that silly nickname you used was close enough to put it all together. If you’d have said your name was Miss McCormick, then I might have had a more difficult time.”
   “Shevy’s not a silly nickname. My brother calls me that. And my sister.”
   “Sounds more like a car, and darlin’, you don’t look anything like a car.” He closed his eyes to picture her. No, she was sweet, and pretty and he sensed a bit of feisty that would make things interesting, but best not to go there right now, not while his bones were still mending. “So you want to buy my house?”
   “I haven’t decided if I’m ready to take that step.”
   “I noticed you lingering in the bedroom. Something about that appeal to you?” Nope, nothing wrong with his circulation. Jared shook his head, frustrated once more by his injuries.
   “The closet didn’t look very big,” she said, but her voice held a teasing tone.
   “I’ll make it bigger for you,” he said.
   She laughed. “I think I already told you I’m not having phone sex with you.”
   He opened his eyes wide, then chuckled. “Well, that one’s on you, ma’am. I was actually referring to the closet. I’m a carpenter by trade. What were you referring to?” Not so Frankenstein-ish after all if her mind was going to those places.
   “The closet, of course,” she replied, that breathy hitch in her voice.
   “You want to have sex in the closet?” he asked. Say yes.
   She giggled. “You’re a terrible flirt.”
   “Tell me what else you liked about the house, because you know I can’t have sex for another month, and you’re killing me here.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Here, have a Snickers"

As many of you know, I work a seasonal day job, and we are currently in the midst of March Mayhem. What this means to me is that the job takes over my life. While I try to maintain my writing schedule, and have had moderate success balancing in the past, it isn't working this year. After a full day (which often runs up to 12 hours) of staring at my computer screen or proofreading or what-have-you, by the end of the day, I can't bear the thought of looking at my computer for another couple of hours, not to mention the fact my brain is so overworked that when I tap my imagination to kick in, it gives me that "are you kidding?" look.

I had an email from one of my very first critique partners, a friend for more than 15 years, in which she told me, "I've noticed you get very cranky when you don't have time to write.  It's almost like withdrawal for you. It could be detrimental to your health!" Don't you know it, sistah!

And then there was my sister, who said "Why are you releasing a book in the middle of busy season?" Well the answer to that one is a little easier. The book is on autopilot. It requires very little from me at this stage of the game and it's "due." Epitaph 2: THE TWINS is cued up, everything is scheduled ahead of time, so other than try to remind people that it's available for pre-order and send out teasers (which can also be pre-scheduled), the release requires minimal effort on my part. The hard part is done. Speaking of which, look what I got last week!

In the meantime - anyone got a Snickers bar so I don't turn into some villainous actor/actress?