Musings

On Writing and Outlines #amwriting

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I’ve written 31k words into that holiday novella and… I’ve hit a wall. It’s one of my own making, of course, one called the this-crap-could-be-better wall.

Technically, the book is “done,” as in, I got to the ending which, unfortunately, falls short of that moment in the cinema when you await (with bated breath) the hero’s answer to the question that will make him a slumdog millionaire or the group of eccentric friends driving their friend all across town to the press conference that will reunite him (in front of the world to see) with the celebrity he’d pushed away after she told him in his tiny travel bookshop, “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love me.”

Nope, I don’t got that moment at all.

I’ve kinda run out of steam and hopefully, it’s temporary, giving me enough time to collect my thoughts on the novella because no way is it going into that box set now. And since it’s not, now I can go for as high a word count as I need to tell a fully rounded story. It will also be a lighthearted addition to my Different Kind of Love series.

But first, I need to figure out what scenes to add, what the external plot is going to be (if it needs to be tweaked) and build up the internal plot that I had to discard along the way to fit the original word count requirement of 25k. Man, that’s a tight one, isn’t it?

Anyway, it all sounds so technical, doesn’t it? You’re probably wondering, where’s the spontaneity in the writing? Does everything have to be so planned? Where’s the surprise?

One of the things about writing a romance is that there is no surprise when it comes to the ending. We all know what happens. The couple or people involved if you’re writing about more than two people getting together (hello harems or reverse harems!) ultimately get a happily-ever-after (HEA) or a happy-for-now (HFN) ending. That’s why it’s called a romance. Not a love story which can have a sad ending (she died or he died or they went their separate ways) or an uncertain ending (what the hell just happened? Did they get together or not?). And not a drama which does not have to have a happy ending at all either.

They get a happy ending.

I guess the fun is in the journey to get to that ending.

There are many books out there on how to plot your story and for the last twenty years, I’ve gone by Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey – Mythical Structure for Writers which is based on Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey. My copy is frayed at the edges and filled with highlights.

I also have his Audible course with Michael Hauge and listen to it often.

A summary of the journey, the archetypes, and Vogler’s memo can be found here.

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As much as I insist that I’m a “pantser” (someone who writes by the seat of her pants, with no outline), I’m not. That’s because even if I don’t write down my outline, in my head, I have the hero’s journey (above) memorized. I know what happens next. I can watch a Hollywood-produced movie and know they’re going to hit on all those beats. And even if they mix the pieces up like Memento, when the movie is put together in order, you’ll come out with the same journey. So much for calling myself as a pantser when I really wasn’t. I knew the rules well enough to know what to break if I wanted to. I plotted inside my head.

But Vogler and Hauge’s methods aren’t the only ones that I use. There is also Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! which is mainly geared for screenwriters but is so helpful for writers as well. Imagine you and your friends are having dinner at a restaurant and someone goes, “Hey! X movie came out tonight! Why don’t we check it out?”

Everyone pulls out their phones and pulls up the movie poster and someone asks, “What’s it about?”

One of the main questions that Save the Cat answers is What is the movie/book about? Can you answer it in one sentence (logline)? There’s more to it, of course, and it gives the reader s basic outline or beats that happen in a movie.

 

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The Transformatioanal Machine One-Sheet

 

Another outline book is Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels (or How To Write Kissing Books) by Gwen Hayes, and this is geared specifically for romance writers. It’s short, sweet, and to the point. It helps you get your romance beats where they should be and have your readers rooting for your lovebirds to live happily ever after in the end.

Knowing basic story structure, no matter whose method whether it’s Vogler, Hauge, Snyder or Hayes’, is the reason I’m stuck at that ending of my book because I know I have to make that moment count and it’s not happening. It’s why I know that I need to beef up Phase 2 of the story (also called Fun and Games in Save the Cat!) to build up the attraction between my characters. Because there’s nothing like insta-love to turn off a reader…

What about you? Are there any books that help you write your stories? What would you recommend?

New Release & Guest Blog Post: Reactance by Dacia M Arnold

Before anything else, I’d love to wish a Happy Book Birthday to Dacia M Arnold for her latest release, REACTANCE, the prequel novella to her upcoming novel APPARENT POWER! Don’t miss her guest post following the release announcement! Congratulations, Dacia!

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REACTANCE

by Dacia M Arnold

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Release Date: August 18, 2018

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Given a gift she never wanted, a young woman fights to find a place in post-apocalyptic Denver.

When a dormant gene awakens in a quarter of the world’s population, conductors of electricity are at the mercy of the DiaZem who rule over them.

After her father is killed in a thwarted plan to eradicate the population without the conductor gene, teenager Sasha Bowman channels her bitterness toward the woman she believes is responsible: The Queen DiaZem.

Keeping a journal to share with the world what really transpired, Sasha rallies the community to React against the Apparent Power.

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About the Author

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Dacia Arnold is an author that struggles to find a balance of work, motherhood, marriage, writing, and the occasional craft. Her first full-length novel, Apparent Power, is in the works to be released December 2018. Dacia served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and deployed twice to Iraq and often incorporates these experiences into her writings both fiction and non-fiction. She currently lives in Denver, Co with her husband, two children, and a fat beagle named Watson.

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GUEST POST

I am so excited Liz Durano let me take over her blog for the day. My novella, REACTANCE just went on sale on Amazon and she wanted all of you to know about it. I have been a fan of Liz for a few years now and she has been extremely helpful to me and my career over those years. Thank you, Liz.

How fitting in the wake of Breaking the Rules, she would have me on her blog to talk a little about my personal military experience and the representation of such in literature. I served in the US Army, Active Duty for ten years. I deployed twice to Iraq in the medical field and witnessed both miracles and horrors of war. While my experience as a woman in the military differs from Sawyer’s, it is always important to remember women do serve and have served in the military for a long time.

Gender differences and representation in literature is not what I want to talk about though. I want to talk about my experience at war, PTSD, and losing dear friends.

I worked for fifteen months in the busiest trauma center in the world, Baghdad ER. Books were written and documentaries were filmed about Ibn Sina Hospital located in the Green Zone of Baghdad. I assisted in the birth of healthy babies and witnessed the death of young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to their country. I also fought for the lives of other men and women who felt they could no longer go on and decided to take their own lives. In the absence of understanding I was often angry when we would fail in our attempts to resuscitate my fellow brother or sister in arms.

We also treated children, criminals, terrorists, murderers. And we treated them all the same. A man, who was shot for creating an explosive which killed five Americans, received the same life-saving measures as a child who was considered collateral damage and was injured for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I saw a lot. I let for Iraq at 23 and returned home when I was 25. I left far more than a birthday and year worth of holidays in that marble clad medical facility. I left nearly every memory I had and held onto the feelings of comradery, the twisted sense of humor one often finds in an emergency room, and pride in the work we did and care we provided. When our mission was done, our emergency room held a 98% survival rate. If you made it to the Combat Support Hospital, your chances of living to see your family again were pretty good. We still managed to lose so many.

All of this happened over a decade ago. I am older, have kids, and left the military when my contract ended four years ago. I do not have post-traumatic stress disorder. This simply means when these memories come back and affect me negatively, I am able to successfully find a coping mechanism to file the memories back in my mind. An inability to do so does not make a person weak. There was a time where I drank too much, cried a lot, and felt guilty about those lives lost in my care. I am, after all, still a human being.

My second deployment to Iraq, I was asked to manage the outpatient clinic (a position multiple levels above my pay grade) while my peers were shift leaders in the emergency room. They wanted the guts and glory. I had seen enough gore by then and was happy to have my quiet predictable corner of the hospital. On Christmas morning (was Christmas night in Iraq), my best friend back home was murdered by her boyfriend with her six children in the home. Because she was not family, I was not granted the opportunity to go home to pay my respects or offer assistance to her children. She was also a veteran. Her boyfriend was still in the military at the time. He was sentenced to a mere fifteen years of prison because he was clinically diagnosed with PTSD. He’s halfway done with his sentence already.

All of these experiences bleed into my writing. Articulating the feelings of loss, pain, guilt, the emptiness one experiences when someone they love is no longer there helps me in filing those hard memories in my mind. It helps me make sense of situations and the grieving process. Everyone has a “fight or flight” reflex and it never occurred to me that flight was an appropriate road to take in such matters.

As a mother, my knowledge of terrorism, guns, and survival are always thoughts running in the background of my mind. I was working in a major hospital when someone called in a bomb threat. Patients and staff alike were notified. Many patients wanted to leave against medical advice. After we received the all clear, some of the nurses, knowing my background, asked me what I would have done. I simply said, “I really just depended on what happened, but either way, I’m going home tonight.” While I knew I had no control over the situation, I needed to maintain the confidence of my ability to fight.

I often call my time in the military “the best worst time of my life” I do not regret joining, serving, deploying OR getting out after ten years. Every experience added a layer of clay to my skeleton and molded who I am today. It gives depth to my writing and a strength I know even the most likely of characters can muster.

And with that, I present my novella, REACTANCE.

Reactance is written in the form of a journal. The story runs the timeline of my novel, Apparent Power, and the sequel, Shifting Power. Though Reactance is meant to be a teaser to the main DiaZem Trilogy, readers can either pick it up while they wait until Apparent Power is released in December 2018 OR they can read it between books 1 and 2. Either way it wets your pallet for the dystopian world I have made.

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A Rough Week

It’s Friday and I can’t even say I’m looking forward to the weekend. It’s still summer vacation after all and so every day is like any other day. Summer stuff. Kid stuff. Struggling with writing stuff.

Is Mercury in retrogade this week? Or month? Or year?

Anyway, I did make a few changes to my books—again. This time, they’re the covers to my Celebrity series.

FINALLY.

I’ve always hated the white covers. Not so much the first book which I thought fit the woman on the cover perfectly, but the second book, with the male cover model? Well, let’s say Gollum’s voice comes out to say “We hates it, my precious” every time I see it.

The picture I had purchased was amazing but once adapted to match the first book, it was, in my opinion, horrible. Everything was too stark WHITE and yes, I did approve it, but that’s a story for another day (or probably never). I still hated it and that’s why I hardly ever promoted it. Bad for me and, really, I’m the only one who suffers in the end. Sometimes, some covers just don’t turn out right.

So this week, while getting stuck in Act 3 of that holiday novella that most likely won’t end up in the box set, I decided to busy myself with redoing covers. I’m still using the same images but this time, I’m switching them. The exclusive image of the guy goes to book 1 and the stock photo of the woman goes on book 2.

One good thing about the change is that it fits the author branding a bit better than the stark white ones that did not. I’ve updated the cover files on all retailers but Amazon (will do that after I publish this blog post) and requested a change for the audiobook as well.

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The covers are a bit dark but I’ve spent way too much time tweaking every shadow and every level of saturation and contrast and then the darn bokeh effects that I’m sick and tired of playing with it. I need to return to finishing that holiday story and writing the two words that have been eluding me for the past two weeks – THE END.

I’ve also spent some time reading (instead of writing) and one of the books I picked up was a dark romance that should be erotica but isn’t labeled as such on Amazon because otherwise, no one would see it. It’s what you’d call dubious consent breeding the female kinda book. I had no idea because it had one of those Beauty and the Beast type of titles so I thought it was some kind of erotic retelling.

Um, it definitely isn’t.

But it’s had a yellow bestseller tag in, like, forever and I guess it’s what many Kindle readers like (?) to read. I just wish I had some sort of warning but you really have no idea, not when it’s categorized under “romance” and is in the top 100 of its subcategory.

Also, based on how well it’s been doing in the Amazon store for over a year, I clearly am doing things wrong…

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Anyway, have a wonderful weekend everyone!

 

 

Kinks

I could not resist.

In the Mood for a Hot Viking Story?

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It’s not mine but author Emmanuelle de Maupassant’s latest release is FREE for a limited time and she’s celebrating with an Amazon Gift Card Giveaway. You can also download the book for free or if you’ve got Kindle Unlimited, add it to your library ASAP because it’s steamy hot and… well, it involves one hot Viking!

I also can’t stop looking at those pecs tattoos.

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Other than Viking history books, this is actually the first Viking series I’ve ever read before that’s under romance. The first book was hot hot hot enough for me to take notice and wait for the follow-up (and that’s a rare thing for me) and now that it’s here, I’m loving it. Emmanuelle definitely did a ton of research into the era and I love the parts about herbs and poultices and also the way she delves into Nordic folklore.

The first book is 99 cents or free in Kindle Unlimited so do can grab that while you’re there.

DOWNLOAD VIKING WOLF

DOWNLOAD VIKING THUNDER

Lost & Found: Where I Was Last Night

NOTE: While going through old files, I found stories I’d written back in 2001—THIRTY years ago (because I can’t do math)! Can you believe that?! This was way before blogs were officially called blogs but somehow I wrote stories and posted them on my old Geocities website. Thank goodness I backed them up because here’s one now, found while cleaning up one of my external drives and revived! I’m also posting them without comment as to why I wrote the story or when or whether it was a prompt from one of the writing courses I took at night or the writing groups I met on Sundays because honestly, I don’t remember. Who knows? It could also be real life. Besides, it’s just more fun this way…

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Where I was last night is none of your business.

Although the thought of telling you now eats into my soul like a hungry mouse and a ball of cheese in its grasp. It has begun to fester and infect my soul, never one to be chaste and pure, for I long to tell you though I am afraid to. Where should I begin to tell you what I did last night? Even I do not know where to start my little novella of…shall we say, impurity encased within a woman so chaste in sight, a maiden of the purest of upbringing.

I can still recall the look in my eyes as I gazed at my reflection in the cheap hotel mirror that hung behind the door, its wooden frame nicked at the edges, pieces of hardened gum tucked behind its looking glass. Wearing a short floral dress that clung to curves studiously and meticulously tended for by fasting and furious dieting, running along the beaches of the coast to tone the limbs that now felt the caress of the thin silken threads, I gazed at my reflection on a cheap hotel mirror. I was the most beautiful woman in the world last night… if you ever needed to know. And the reflection looking back at me with an arched eyebrow delicately plucked by a dark-skinned hairdresser yesterday could not have agreed more.

When the phone rang, I ran to the desk and lifting the receiver to my ear, I could hear your voice like music plucked by sinewy fingers against the strings of a lyre in the Irish sea, and I sighed. My knight in shining armor, though tainted, was finally here.

Yet a knight he was to my eyes, and his steed was a ten-year-old white Corvette, its white plexiglass frame having been redone the year past because an impatient New Yorker backed into it while trying to get out of a parking spot. Don’t New Yorkers know how to drive? I had thought once, though I knew the answer already. The hood of the Corvette was white as snow, its smooth exterior glistening in the moonlight. Who needed to know about New Yorkers and plexiglass frames on such a night as this? I slipped into the passenger seat, my stockinged legs revealed as the dress rode up high up my thighs, and I turned to face him as my right hand pulled the door shut.

He had not changed much, except maybe he looked happier. Maybe it was because of me, I could never truly know, although my vain heart would have thought so without a shadow of a doubt. We did not know whether to kiss passionately or lock our arms in an embrace, for inside a Corvette, such an embrace would have been cumbersome with one twisting uncomfortably just to welcome someone to one’s chest. So we kissed, gently at first, then slowly allowing cold lips to suffuse with warmth before fully tasting each others’ nectar as the cars of New York outside our little world blazed with horns and screeches. What did we care? A kiss from such a man was not one I would have refused. He was still my knight in tarnished armor.

And as we continued our passionate reunion of lips long abandoned from each other, I no longer worried about the dress riding high above my thighs, my silk stockings smooth against my skin that now began to prickle in the heat of the reunion. I no longer cared for the hotel room rented under another woman’s name, its bed awaiting with petals of roses strewn across its cheap comforter and pillows, nor the cheap chipped hotel mirror that would bear witness to me and my knight locked in the throes of a forbidden passion.

All I cared about last night as I kissed the man my heart had fallen head over heels for one night in a Queens bar, just days before Christmas eve, was the frantic removal of a band of gold that threatened to choke the life out of me, its metal colder still against the skin of my finger. I last saw it flying, as if with wings, into the cool night air of autumn, its cold metal of gold mined in the isles of Scandinavia shining in the light of the New York moonlight filtering through the skyscrapers above.

Where I was last night is none of your business. But if you ever find a band of gold on a New York pavement on FiftySixth and Fifth, let me know. My husband awaits its return although losing it while shopping at Lord & Taylor is a difficult story to swallow, even for a husband as gullible as mine.

Weekly Update #amwriting

I took this photo during my first trip to the Frick Collection in New York’s Upper West Side three years ago this week. It was from a free paper I picked up along the way and I still have it three years later. Sometimes I see the photo posted on other people’s social media feeds and it makes me happy knowing that the saying (and the photo) still makes its rounds years later.

It’s also a quaint reminder of why I write.

Now to the writing update…

So this week, I completed about 28k words but edited thousands out so my final word count is 23k. This is also the point of the story where I start to question myself and have to go back to the outline I had written. This is because I am faced with the option of extending the word count since, most likely, I will not be including the story in that holiday box set that requires closed-doors sex scenes. That’s not to say that the box set is a “clean romance” set. It’s just a holiday Romance box set featuring closed-door sex scenes. Unfortunately, I keep mistakenly referring to it as “clean romance” which baffles some readers and fellow authors as to why I signed up to be in a clean romance set when I write steamy romance stories.

Thing is, I didn’t sign up to be in a clean romance box set. I signed up to be part of a holiday romance box set with closed door sex scenes and no C, D, and F words. That I can’t remove the sex scenes without having my hero look like douchebag and the heroine a slut is simply one of the disadvantages of my style of deep POV writing.

This term “clean romance” also had me wondering. If a clean romance set meant no sex, what is a romance book WITH sex? The antonym to “clean” is dirty. So does that mean novels with steamy scenes in it are classified as dirty romance?

Oh, well… here’s an excerpt in the meantime.

I turn my attention back to the tree, not wanting to ruin a beautiful moment between longtime friends because in the end, that’s what we are—friends. Who cares if we’re sitting on a faux sheepskin rug buck naked? Besides, it had been my decision to have sex—and boy, other than the guilt I’m feeling right now, it was the best decision ever. I’ve always known Campbell to be this quiet, intense and driven kid and I’d never once considered him as anything but a friend mainly because I grew up with him. He’s the boy next door and whenever we get together, my partner in crime.

Who knew that between the sheets, he’s amazing? His hands, his mouth, his… I bite my lip. No, better not go there.

Still, I may not have the experience to make such a declaration that he’s an amazing lover—after all, I’ve only been with two men before tonight—but I’ve also never felt so comfortable, so sexy and so gorgeous with any man before. The way he makes love is just beyond words. And even if I could find the words, I won’t because most of it can’t be described using the alphabet, at least, not in a coherent arrangement.

I turn my head to look at him. I never realized how thick his lashes are. “I wanted it to happen, Cam.”

Campbell kisses my shoulder. “I did, too.”

Tuesday Word Count

I wanted to write this last night but my mind was done after writing 3,133 words. Yup, 3,133 words for a total word count last night of 16k and change.

Today, I added more words for a total of 18,276. That leaves me with the dilemma of not using this story for the box set because we’re only at the middle of the story…. which also brings the chance of me losing that $100 come September 7 when the story is due.

Because even with my diligent outlining/plotting, it turns out I’m still pantser after all… or at least, I’m the type of writer who allows my characters to take the reins and run with the story relegating me to the job of the writer who chases after them, pen and paper in hand.

And that’s the way I like to write them, like writing a steamy sex scene running close to 2,500 words, feels and all.

And since it’s still Tuesday in my neck of the woods (with seven minutes to spare before the strike of midnight), I’m going to throw in a sneak peek for #TeaserTuesday. This is Campbell and Caitlin right after they see Hamilton the Musical at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in Manhattan.

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“Thank you, Cam. This was just amazing. Now I can’t get the lyrics out of my head.”

“You’re welcome, although I don’t think there’s anything wrong with lyrics being stuck in your head. Just don’t suddenly break out in song. Or if you do, give me a warning.” I move my arm from her shoulder. “You ready to head home?”

Caitlin’s brow furrows. “You’re taking me home already?”

“Actually, I was thinking maybe we could go to my apartment and hang out a bit. Come to think of it, you never got to see the tree all lit up.”

Caitlin bites her lower lip as she smiles. It’s a playful smile that makes the knot in my belly tighten. “That’s right. I haven’t.”

Suddenly all I see are the signs that I’ve fought so hard to ignore plain as day. How much longer can I go flirting with her when the last thing I want is to jeopardize my friendship with her older brother? Jordan is my best friend, or as he loves to say, my brother from another mother. He helped get me through the toughest times in my life, brought me into his family and he trusts me with his sister. If I truly value my friendship with Jordan and his family, I need to put an end to this madness now. I need to stop stringing Caitlin along and make her believe something’s going to happen.

But is that what I really want?

“Let’s go,” I say, my voice barely a whisper as I get up, knowing the moment I take her hand that there’s no way I can let her go now.

We make it to my apartment in twenty minutes and by the time we walk through the door, we’ve had it with the self-control. I know I have. It took all of my willpower not to kiss her in the cab or the theater or the bar. It took the last thread of self-control not to kiss her in the elevator. But as soon as the door shuts behind us, it feels like a dam breaking and one touch of her hand on my face, stroking my stubble in the semi-darkness is all it takes for me to let go—that and thanking my lucky stars I hadn’t set the timer for the Christmas tree or all this tension that’s built up between us all night would have gone to hell.

“Cait…”

That’s all I can say before I lower my head and kiss her. While I’d done my best to act cool around Caitlin the entire evening, it left a part of me almost distant, closed off only because I didn’t know how she’d react. I kept second-guessing every touch, every smile, every time she sneaked a glance at my direction during the musical. When I held her hand, squeezing it as an emotional scene played onstage, I suddenly felt alive, as if a real live connection had been established between us. No more guessing.

But there’s nothing like a kiss to seal the deal as I lose myself in the taste of her lips and the exquisite feel of her tongue. It’s heaven in a kiss I’d never experienced before and like a man in search of the sublime, I want more. My hands move along her sides, slipping inside her coat to feel her soft curves and the warmth of her skin from underneath her dress.

“Our coats… they’re in the way,” she mumbles as she lets go of my neck and shrugs off her purse and her coat, her hands tugging at my shirt from under my coat.

“Cait, are you sure?”

She looks up at me with her big green eyes and my breath catches in my throat. God, she’s so beautiful. So what the hell am I doing? Why the hell am I stopping her when this is exactly what I want, too?

Happy Endings

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There are rumblings on social media over what romance really is as a genre. Some state that all you need is a glimmer of hope for a story to be labeled a romance like, let’s say, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes or The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks*.

Therefore, a Happily-Ever-After (HEA) or a Happy-For-Now (HFA) is not exactly required. Allegedly.

I don’t know about you but can #romance just have one thing that’s entirely ours, like a happy ending? That’s really the only requirement for a story to be considered a romance. The happy ending. The journey of two people (or more, if you’re talking about Menage, Harem, or Reverse Harem romances) amid conflict and obstacles toward that HEA or HFN.

The argument about what romance is and isn’t had me looking back at the books I’ve read when I was much younger. Outside of the classics, the first novel I read was my mother’s copy of Harold Robbins’ The Adventurers, clearly not a romance because the Prologue (that’s also an Epilogue) already tells you that the hero is dead. Then there was also my mother’s copy of Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough, clearly not a romance because we know what happens to Father Ralph and Meggie. Not a happy ending.

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And then there’s P.S. I Love You by Barbara Conklin from Sweet Dreams Romance, which was handed down to me by a friend. I can never forget the cover because I got so sucked into this romance only to find out it wasn’t! Talk about an unhappy ending…

That taught me to be careful about books labeled “romance” because many are NOT romances but love stories. It also taught me to skip to the ending, because I’ve had trust issues since reading P.S. I Love You.

Yet for some reason, a lot of people insist that #romance books don’t have to have a happy ending. Um, yes, they do. Everything else doesn’t have to have a happy ending like literary fiction, women’s fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, mysteries, thrillers, and George R.R. Martin, so why insist that #romance not have it as well?

It’s the only reason I read and write romance—for that happy ending… and not in the massage kinda way.

*Sparks, by the way, insists he does not write romance.

“I haven’t written a single book that could even be accepted as a romance novel. I mean, there’s a completely different voice. They’ve got very specific structures; they’ve got very specific character dilemmas; they end completely differently; and they’ve got certain character arcs that are required in their characters — I do none of those things.

It’s like you might as well say, ‘Why have I been bothered by not being called a thriller writer?’ Because I’m not –- that’s not what I write.”

Source: So What Do You Do, Nicholas Sparks, Bestselling Romance Novelist?

Image by Tom Pumford

 

 

Sunday Word Count #excerpt

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I got to 680 before everyone woke up and it’s time to get off the computer and step outside for a while.

That’s 11109 words into my holiday novella and so far, I think I may have found my groove. Caitlin and Campbell seem to be cruising right along and I couldn’t be happier. I’m hoping to get at least 2k more words in by tomorrow so crossing my fingers!

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at a section that I just finished.

***

By the time we make it to the theatre, the mere brush of his hand on my elbow or my hand leaves me feeling giddy, and somehow I can’t help but assume it’s no longer accidental. Even the theatre disappears whenever Campbell turns to look at me, all my senses heightened and focused on what he’s doing, on the words he’s saying. When he holds my hand as we make our way to the lobby during the intermission, I don’t see anyone else.

How long has it been since I’ve been with a man? Somehow I draw a blank. All I remember are the first dates that barely made it to first base, much less the second, my mind constantly on my research projects, meetings with my advisor, and that unwavering goal of making it to graduation and then finding a job.

But for tonight, I’m willing to toss all that out the window. I’m having way too much fun being with a man I’ve always felt safe with, my brother’s best friend and the boy next door. Only this time, something’s different. Somewhere between then and now, Campbell Murphy grew up and I never saw it until now.