What Model Of Alpha Do You Want?

tumblr_myfffeXLM61srko8to1_r1_500Reviews are a double edge sword. Authors want and need them to get the word out about their books, but reviews with low ratings and pure hate for a book are not helpful in my opinion. The reason I say it that way is that I had a well-known blogger tell me even horrible reviews can help sell a book. You know, everyone wanting to see if a book is really as terrible as everyone is saying. Heaven forbid, if that ever happens to me. I’m all for the positive hook.

Anyway, reviews per se is not what this post is about.

Occasionally, I read reviews from some of my favorite authors. Why you ask? Whenever I’m feeling down about my writing (what the fuck am I doing?) and need to see even my favorite NYT bestselling authors have a handful of disparagers among their hundreds of five star reviews. Yesterday, I was looking at an author whose publisher had released her backlist in ebook. So thrilling because now I can get copies for my iPad and the paperbacks can stay on my shelves in good condition.

On one hand, I was surprised by the many one stars (and anger) for books I love of hers. As I read the reviews, the main theme appeared to be the way the heroes treated the heroines.

See, from 1970s to 1990s, it had been popular for the heroes to be what I call supreme alphas. It started with the bodice rippers (literally, and by the way, I freaking hate that term for current day romance in general). Yes. Historical romances were queen in the beginning and the heroes thought nothing of ripping the bodice off the heroines. It was so different from what women had been reading before then. I can get into the dynamics of the sexual revolution and birth control and woman finding out they loved sex when there was little fear of pregnancy (only 2% to 9% fear as pills are 91% to 98% effective), but that is still not what this post is about.

In my dear favorite author’s earlier books, the heroes bossed and took over the heroines’ lives as if the women had no sense at all. At the time, and to a point nowadays, I love reading books with those types of heroes. But from what I’ve read in other articles, reviews and in general conversations with twenty- to thirty-something readers, they do not want a hero to act that way. In real life, I wouldn’t either, but, folks, this is fantasy. Anyway, onward and upward…

I thought that was interesting considering how many readers love kinky doms (BDSM), demanding billionaires, and dangerous bikers (MCs). So I compared the differences and realized in most cases, the older romances with dominating males, the heroes came across as cold and unfeeling at least until the end. While the new wave alphas show tenderness and often sweet talk their heroines, they are the same type of heroes, but they have smoother edges.

Both have pluses and minuses. I have found that sometimes when I’m reading a new author’s male point of view, the guys sound a little girlish. More of how the author wished a male would be. From what I know of most men, they are straightforward in speech and action and rarely think about how so-and-so feels about something. They believe they do what must be done and not worry overmuch about it. They have gut feelings and realizations. Not all of that touchy, feely, (I’m not talking about sex) I-have-to-talk-it-out stuff. Of course, there are the exceptions, but they are usually the villains.  HA!

Oh, if you’re reading an old romance, be sure to keep all of this mind. Hopefully the publisher (or author, if self-published) will show the original published date. It would be best in the end. Fewer rants by readers. Geez!

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.

Perseverance or The Need To Scream At the Top Of My Lungs

MM900046560Last year was a turkey of a year and let’s leave it at that. I rather dwell on good things, and that’s how I’m looking at 2014.

I’ve written a novella. The hero is Ice from The Circle series.  His lady love isn’t even mentioned in the books. A totally new character. And since it is a novella, it concentrates on the discovery of love more than on the suspense. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Next on my agenda is to complete Jack’s story. As you may know, I had already started on it but got sidetracked by many things including the novella.  Plus I’ve decided that Jack’s will be a novella too. Maybe a little longer than Ice’s, but still short.

Then I plan to work on Liam and Charlie’s. They so deserve a happy ending. After that I might do a short story for Ty Roman with a thread revealing what happened to Brody and Lucian Reilly. (How many people know who he was and what book he appeared in?)

You’re probably wondering why am I writing the rest of the series as novellas? Because I have two series that I would like to sell to publishing houses and my time should be and hopefully will be spent completing them. Besides, I didn’t want to wait on writing the rest of The Circle Series. So novella is the second best thing to do.

I have so many stories to write. I can’t wait until I retire so I can do this full time. Please hang in there with me.  You won’t regret it. I think.

What Can You Learn?

MH900442424One of the many lessons I’ve learned writing over the years is that you have to keep an open mind. There is so much to learn, and sometimes the smallest things will turn on the little light bulb above your head.

For me, I wanted to improve on sexual tension. (And I’m still working on it.) Sexual tension is a large part of what makes romance books wonderful to read. I’m not talking about the sexual tension of the couple bouncing the balls in bed, but what if sex isn’t part of the story? For example an inspirational romance where the couple may kiss but nothing more. I’ve read some inspirational novels with great tension. Shocked? Don’t be. I read a large variety of romance. Or if you’re shocked that inspirational novels have great sexual tension, then you’re reading the wrong ones.

So in this case, it is more like the promise of sex tension. Or maybe it should be called attraction tension. Yeah.

Isn’t that one of the great things about first falling in love? Where the attraction is strong you know it will lead to something more, but for whatever reason you can’t go that extra step and see/feel each other naked. That kind of tension.

Yes. I know my heroes and heroines have no problem doing the deed without blinking an eye, but I want that tension in every moment they’re together, even after they do the mambo between the sheets. I’m a firm believer that a romance novel isn’t over after the first love scene. That’s when the tension heightens. Hey, they know the score and they want more. But there is a time and place to make love, and when those times aren’t available, the couple should be aware of each other and what they want to repeat.

When other authors do this, I know it makes me read faster. Not only do I want them to stop the killer (or werewolf or duke’s spy . . .), I want to see how much deeper they fall in love (it is a romance) as they’re swapping saliva and other interesting fluids. LOL!

I’m working hard to keep this post PG-13. One day, I may have to switch the blog over to 18 and over. Then Katie bar the door, my four-letter self will go wild.

Accents: How Do Ya’ll Say . . .

MC900438068Have you ever read a story where the author used accents? I see it on occasion, and thankfully, nowadays most authors use it sparingly. In CIRCLE OF DANGER, Liam is a secondary character who’s Irish. He’d lived in the U.S. for about ten years, and his accent mostly showed up when he was emotional. So he may say “bloody” when mad or use “me” instead “I” when he’s in a teasing mood. As you can see, I used colloquialism as a way to convey the accent.

No need for abbreviating like people do with Southern accents. Ya’ll un’erstan? That’s just it. Using too many abbreviated words or even slang, can become confusing to the reader and slow down the story. Let them hear the accents in their own mind. One of the tricks to remember is that many accents have rhythms. Sometimes movies can be helpful to get the hang of that.

Everyone in the world has accents. Californians, Oregonians, and Washingtonians claim they don’t. Sorry, but you do. Mostly it’s just the accepted accent for the media. But in the South, we often think some of you sound like a Yankee. HA!

And not all Southerners are hillbillies.