Expectations In Romance

?????????????????????????????????????????????????As anyone who reads romance knows, there is always a happy ending. The heroes or heroines never die, and they never break up. Sure, they may never marry, but as a reader you know they will be together forever.

But I’ve noticed over the last several years there are other trends in particular of romance.

Back in the seventies through the nineties, the couple would wait until three quarters of the way through the book before having sex. Of course, there were exceptions, but then they often didn’t do it again until toward the end when all misunderstandings were cleared up.

Then in the new millennium, they started having sex in the middle of the book. GASP! I remember I could open some books directly in the middle, and there would be the love scene. It was so funny, not the love scene, usually pretty hot, but that I could find it so easily.

Even now I can read a mainstream (traditionally published) romance, and it will go like this: sexual tension, kissing, petting, almost a home-run but there’s an interruption by an external force or by a realization (She’s a virgin! She’s my brother’s fiancée! He’s the wrong brother! He’s a rake!) and maybe happens more than once. Eeek! So again, it would take until halfway through the book to have sex.

I so hate that. Sure they can’t go like bunnies all the time in a romantic suspense, (otherwise, that would be erotica), they do need to run and worry about something other than the hero being able to get it up. The horror! So with their clothes on, most of the time – I’ve been known for making my heroes go without – they need to have other types of action happening around them and to them.

There are other trends that I’ve seen romance writers do. Heroines are wetting their underwear/thongs a lot. Surprised the girl doesn’t have an infection. Heroes have that bead of moisture on the end of their penises. Not every man has that happen, every time. Then again, I haven’t been with every man.

I know why these trends happen. One writer will read another writer’s book who mentioned a bodily function or reaction the other hadn’t thought of before. So in her next book, she mentions it and then the race is on! Everyone is wetting panties and having beads everywhere.

So writers. If you read it in one, two, or three books, does it make it true or necessary? Please make your book’s a little different. Mix it up. Think about your own experiences and expand.

And if you’re a virgin and writing about women who have a great sex life, kudos to you! You’ve got a great imagination, but you might be surprised that it is a whole lot different than you believe. Actually, usually a whole lot better, though a lot messier. And a woman doesn’t multi-climax every single time.

If you do, you’re unique and I hate you.  (HA!)

Of course, it is fiction that we write.

All Paths Lead to Books

Businessman Wearing CapeI usually avoid talking about the day job except for the occasional remarks about working overtime and it kicking my butt. But today I’m in the mood to talk in general about it.

A few years ago, I started the current job after an old one sold out and moved away. Freaking stressful. See, I’ve realized over the years, I’m a slow starter. At first I don’t know for sure what questions to ask. I mainly soak in as much information as my brain can handle. Then I work through the areas I need improvement. Along the way, I either make bad choices or good ones. Then I work out the kinks.

I’m not much for tooting my own horn, though you may say differently if you read my blog regularly. But really, this is my place to make all kinds of noise.

Anyway, the point I’m getting to is even though I’m slow, I catch on and it sticks. My job reviews are always great. And I feel my books are that way.

Thankfully my critique partner and my beta readers say my books get better and better. That is so satisfying. I know I love each book I write, but the last one is always my favorite. LOL! Maybe one day will come that I have an old favorite. We’ll see.

So I hope everyone will give each of my books a try. Remember they’re along the lines of James Bond or Nikita, but way hot! They’re a little out there in adventure, but they are written for pure entertainment.

Wait until I finish Jack’s story (Rex’s brother in CIRCLE OF DECEPTION). He has a few surprises. At times, he can be an asshole, but can’t we all? Katerina (CIRCLE OF DANGER) will certainly straighten out his butt. I hope to have this story completed and published by August.

In June, I’m planning to release a novella (short story) with Ice Takahashi (CIRCLE OF DANGER) as the hero. The heroine wasn’t in the previous books, but you will find out some truths about Ice’s past and his real name.Young model

“Ice” Takahashi’s final job for The Circle has an unexpected hitch in it; he’s fallen for an innocent civilian. When his mission goes haywire, he’s determined to protect her and still come out of it alive. Maybe he can be an honorable man who’s worthy of her love.

Lena Matthews feels like she’s playing with fire by dating the mysterious Master J. He’s exotic, dangerous, and exactly what she needs in her boring life. With the bad guys bearing down on them, she discovers a whole new world of sensuality that binds her heart to his forever.

Strangers In The Night

If you had the chance to be in the car alone for about twenty or thirty minutes with one of your all-time favorite authors, who would it be?

I had that opportunity in 2009. My writers group has a romance readers luncheon every first Saturday in November. That year it was Anne Stuart. Oh, my GOD! I was so excited. She and Linda Howard are two authors that I want to be compared to whenever someone reads my romantic suspense.

Anne was flying into the Birmingham airport and I volunteered (yeah, like I would let anyone else do that) to pick her up. I was so tickled, I even took off a half day from work. Who can concentrate when they’re picking up a rock star?

So there I was waiting for the time, unable to eat or read. If I can’t do two of my four favorite things, I’m really wound up. (By the way, if you’re curious, the other two are writing and sex, not necessarily in that order.)

The time finally arrives and I’m standing near the concourse exit. I’m holding a sign with her pen name on it, so she’ll know who’s picking her up. A large crowd comes through, warning me that the flight had deplaned. No Anne. Huh? Did I miss her in the crowd? Had she changed so much from Washington DC when I met her for the first time that I overlooked her? OMG! THE HORROR!

Then I crane my neck to look down the long hallway, and I see a man pushing a woman in a wheelchair. ANNE! (I read somewhere she has a bad knee.) Then I flip my sign, and she bursts out laughing (love her laugh). What did it say?



I had a feeling she would appreciate the humor, so I said, “And I don’t own a sledgehammer.” She roared with laughter and said, “I sure hope not.”

On the way to the hotel, I had around twenty minutes to gush all over her about how much I loved her books, telling her my favorites, and then I asked about what she was writing. And somewhere along the way, she asked about my writing. Before I knew it, we were at the hotel. Talk about loving every minute with her, it was fabulous. A time I’ll never forget.

Be sure to put her books on your list to read. In fact, the last couple weeks she has been celebrating forty years (amazing!) in the business and been giving away downloads at Amazon and sometimes B&N. Click here for her blog. Click here for her Facebook page. But be aware, most of Anne’s heroes are tough and almost scary alpha. Her Ice series are some of the best and most unique romantic suspense I’ve ever read. What makes them unique?

The hero doesn’t have issues with being a badass. They make hard decisions and don’t sit around mourning the results. They are at times rough and maybe even a little cruel to the heroines. The heroes are tough men and expect the women they are fascinated by (and they are always drawn to the heroines despite what is best for him) to understand where they’re coming from. Since this is fiction, I love these heroes. In real life, hell no. They would scare the shit out of me.

And her women are strong. Some can kick butt as well as the guys, but those who can’t (kick butt), know how to stand up them. Oh, yeah, with great results.

If any of that sounds familiar, it’s because I’m such a fan that my heroes and heroines are a little like hers. I’m not saying I’m the caliber of writer that she is. But I will tell you that one of my reviews did compare my first book to Anne’s Ice series. I was thrilled.

Maybe soon I’ll tell you how I met Sherrilyn Kenyon and Linda Howard.

Avon Imprints

Hey, I came across this page on HarperCollins website — yeah, yeah, I was Googling myself again. Whenever I’m procrastinating, I do that.

Anyway, check it out. I’m so proud and tickled they mentioned me – twice. I really love Avon and hope to have more books published by them in the future.

Avon corporate website

Avon Red Corporate

The webpage has all of the imprints published under the HarperCollins corporate umbrella.  To look at the whole page with all the imprints, click here.