I Have A Theory

Image courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I'm not ashamed of the fact I'm a romance reader. I enjoy it, obviously. I write it too.

As a writer I follow several industry blogs, and the two I read most often are the Steve Laube Agency blog and the Books & Such blog. Both agencies work almost exclusively in the CBA market, but there's a wealth of industry information shared and great tips for writers no matter what genre/market you write in.

On November fifth, Wendy Lawson of Books & Such did a post called The Trouble With Different.

To preface this, Wendy is talking exclusively about Christian fiction, but the general concepts of what she says are true in both markets. Being too different is hard. Read Sherrilyn Kenyon's publishing journey if you don't believe me. Once there was a time when no editor would touch what she writes.

Now, on to specifics of what Wendy said that I can't stop thinking about.
Sometimes the norm is that way because we’ve watched sales. For instance, we know romantic fiction sales will be strongest if the protagonist is a woman. So if you choose to be different by going with a male lead, you’ve already got a hurdle to cross with the sales people on the acquisitions committee.
While this statement is true in the CBA, it's not always true in the ABA. There's a vast number of authors who write at least equally in his POV. I'm exploring ABA romance, for the first time, and finding my hero POV needs much easier to fulfill.  I have always preferred his POV in a romance. The older I get, the more I prefer it. Weird, huh?

I commented on the post, which I do from time to time because the agents here usually reply. I said this:
I also gravitate to reading books largely in his POV. Part of my issue with first person, especially in a romance, is I’m locked into HER head. And I don’t care about her. Whenever I try to make it about her, the story shuts down. They stop talking. It doesn’t work. All the spark that is me and my voice disappears. If I write mostly in her POV I’ll never make it to the acquisitions committee in the first place. But my ABA romance told in 70% his POV is going further than my inspy HR forced into largely her POV ever did.
The 70% his POV is My Name Is A'yen. I have four POV's. Only one is a woman.

I've been thinking about this for almost two weeks now. What many CBA agents may not be aware of is the explosive growth of the M/M romance in the ebook market. It's so popular that Googling it gave me pages to go through.

Why is it so popular? And it's popularity pre-dates Fifty Shades by nearly five years. I won't rehash the history of the genre's rise, but it appears to be tied to slash fan fiction, which is dominated by women. Having been active in a fan fiction community for several years, the Hardy Boys, I know it's a fact women dominate it. And fan fiction communities tend to center around books with strong male protagonists.

In one of the articles I read the writer quoted Dr. Sarah S.G. Frantz, from a blog post she did in 2006.
...romances are actually about watching the hero figure out and confess his feelings, if they're about watching him move from the "masculine economy of use" to the "feminine economy of exchange," then watching TWO men have to figure it out for and with each other is more than twice as wonderful as watching one man figure it out for and with a woman.
I think she's on to something. For decades romances have been heroine-centric. To the point where I had a contest judge in 2011, who's published in Christian romance, tell me in my entry that readers don't care about him. It pissed me off, because it's not true.

What if the rise of M/M romance is directly related to the romance reader's desire for more hero-centric stories? Look at Sherrilyn Kenyon. The single most popular Dark-Hunter is Acheron. I'm in love with him. I read DH for pieces of him. I read DH for the men. And so do millions of others. As the series progresses, it focuses more and more on the heroes. Every single person in my life, real and online, knows when I crack open Acheron there will be a Do Not Disturb sign on my life, until I'm done with 700+ pages of Ash goodness.

Look at the rise of paranormal romance. It's centered around strong heroes who not only share the POV division equally, but quite often tip the division in their favor. There's a reason for this, and I think it has more to do with a hunger for his POV than it does with the novelty of vampires and shapeshifters.

This romance reader does not like heroine-centric stories. I'm sick of them, because they're everywhere. Especially in CBA romance where his existence is almost an afterthought most of the time. But on the other hand, M/M romance isn't something I read because much of it crosses lines I'm unwilling to cross in the graphic department. So what's a girl to do?

My answer: Write hero-centric traditional romances and hope I can hit things just right to fill an unmet need in the romance market.


A Lament for Copper

courtesy of BBC America
Certain TV shows are food for my muse. Others are pure eye candy. Others feed my love of history. Sometimes, all three converge. Like in Copper on BBC America.

While watching Doctor Who last fall they kept advertising Copper, set in NYC in 1864, just after the draft riots. Civil War? In a BBC costume drama? SO there! I was hooked from the first episode.

Then the lead actor, Tom Weston-Jones, became A'yen, my space opera hero. I pretty much screamed when a second season was announced, and waited not so patiently for it to start airing this summer. I'm totally invested in the show, the characters, the sets, the costumes, the relationships. Totally. Invested.

Then last week I find out it's not getting a third season. This wouldn't usually be a problem, except BBC America pulled a Sci-Fi Channel on Farscape and announced it AFTER filming wrapped on the season finale. I recorded it Sunday night because I was Fringe binging with my sister, and watched it last night.

Come on, BBCA! You can't do this to me and Copper's fans! You can't put Richie and Lola's bodies into barrels, leave them on the floor of Paradise, have Eva nowhere to be found, and call that a series finale. You just CAN'T. Not when I'm totally convinced Eva's baby is actually Corky's and Corky still hasn't fully made up with Francis.

Kudos for wrapping up the second season arc and answering the questions about why Corky, Morehouse, and Matthew are bonded together. It was an amazing setup with Eva's disappearance and Tammany Hall for a third season. And now you won't give us one.

I'm upset, BBCA. Very upset.


What Happens At A Writing Conference

I'm lucky enough to be in an organization for writers that hosts an amazing conference every year. I'm even luckier that I've been able to go seven times. Yes. I've been to SEVEN writing conferences. Each one has been unique and memorable, with new things learned I can immediately apply to my writing.

It's in September every year and is the highlight of my year. This year I wasn't sure if I would make it, but the money all appeared, I found the cheapest plane ticket I've ever seen out of my local airport, and off I went on Friday the 13th to Indianapolis.

This was the second time this conference has been in Indy. Last time was in 2010, which was a really bad year for me. A lot's happened since then, including me finishing almost four 95K+ novels and switching markets.

A couple of things really stand out. First was James Scott Bell's Quantum Story class all day Saturday. One of the best classes I've ever sat through and I have more notes from that one class than my last four conferences combined. New ideas flowed, a couple more things clicked. And then he got to the last forty-five minutes of the class where he talked about the secret to unforgettable fiction.

He put it in one word. Joy. Find your writing joy, and your fiction will be unforgettable. Well, I found my joy last May when A'yen walked into my head. It just took eight months to see it, and another four to finally make the decision to totally cross over and enter the ABA market.

The other thing to stand out was getting a chance to talk for a few minutes, TWICE, with the agent I've been courting for the last year. I was able to run my next idea by her, get some great feedback, and she advised taking one particular element out. Which I promptly did and WOW. The entire world fell into place and I'm even more excited about it than I was before. More details coming on it later.

As always it was an amazing experience. So much laughing, brainstorming in person, introducing John Barrowman to people who have never had the pleasure of gazing on his handsome face, and nowhere near enough sleep. Lack of sleep is part of the experience. And more than a few God moments, which for me are very important. It's very cool to have attended a Christian conference, in a market I used to write in, and receive confirmation--amidst so many talking about how Christians must write only Christian fiction--that crossing over is the right thing for me to do.

My writing self is re-energize and rejuvenated for another year. And more than ready to keep honing my craft and write books people can't put down.


We're Alive has Romance?

We're Alive: A Zombie Survival Story
My brothers and sister have been on the We're Alive bandwagon for awhile now. Not since 2009, but at least since last year.

I knew about it, but hadn't started listening yet, except for what I overheard coming from my sister's room.

Went to see my grandparents last week, and on the way up and back we listened to We're Alive. It's official. I'm hooked.

Being a romance writer, naturally one thing jumped out immediately: the budding romance between Saul and Lizzie.

I'm still in season one, so I have no idea how it all plays out. But I'm really liking it. It's very real, has a nice progression, isn't lust in disguise, and has them actually interacting as people. It's refreshing.

At this point I'm also pulling for Michael and Riley. And for where I'm at, for Michael to not be dead!


My Hero is Bi

Most novelists have a day job, and mine is transcription. I work with people from all over the country, since I do it all online. Several of my clients have come to me through my membership in American Christian Fiction Writers. I'm a Christian, and I actually enjoy (most of the time) transcribing sermons and things of that nature. It's interesting.

I did not grow up in a typical Christian environment, though. My parents grew up in the Baptist church, but when they started searching things out on their own and reading the Bible as it is, instead of as man wants to interpret it, they left that denomination. We lived for many years in a place where there was no church my parents were comfortable attending, because the theology was always screwy in some way. Then we moved and eventually ended up at Grace Presbyterian, part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. We have an amazing pastor who encourages us to read the Bible like we would read Dune or Lord of the Rings, which means accepting the Author's world as valid the way it's presented and not trying to make it be something it's not. (How cool is it to have a certified geek in the pulpit? We're trying our darnedest to turn him into a Whovian.)

I've always known in my head that Christianity and gays don't get along. But I didn't understand why, because the faith, Bible, and God I know is all about compassion and reaching out in love. Then last week, while working, I encountered the reason Christianity and gays don't get along. For the very first time, in thirty years of being in church, I heard the damnation most "Christians" preach toward gay people.

And it left me upset, discombobulated, and ranting about it to my crit partner and my mom. The entire hour long class I transcribed was a diatribe of hatred and judgment. It went on about how gay sex is nasty (which, honestly, the ick factor can be pretty high at times), about how these people hurt the ones around them, and how we need to help those who have been hurt by the gay people in their lives.

NOT ONCE in a sixty-three minute recording did I hear a word about compassion or love to one of the most hurting groups of people this world has ever known. It was damnation and judgment after damnation and judgment, with a side of "this is nasty, unhealthy, and gross". My God, the God of the Bible, demands we have compassion. Paul tells us to be all things to all men, so that in so doing we may save some. That includes being friends with gay people and loving them without condemnation and judgment. Jesus ate with tax collectors, for Pete's sake! Tax collectors back then were thought of roughly the same as pedophiles are today.

And who did Jesus reserve the strongest condemnation for? Not gay people, or tax collectors, or the Roman oppressors, or the prostitutes and adulterers murderers and rapists and thieves. He excoriated the religious people. He called the religious leaders of the Jewish people a brood of vipers and hypocrites. And what did he tell the woman at the well who was in the middle of an affair, and the adulterous woman about to be stoned? He touched them and forgave them their sins. He touched them. He loved on the people hurting most, those ignored and condemned by the religious leaders.

This really hit home with me for one big reason. A'yen, my space opera main character, is bi. The saga opens with him still in mourning for his dead male lover. Yes, you read that right. He was in love with a man, and in fact had a fifteen-year relationship with said man. I knew the moment he told me that last May, there was no room in Christian fiction for him. Before that I'd been writing Christian fiction, since I am a Christian, but I was struggling with the lack of reality in how we're expected to portray characters.

A character like A'yen, with real flaws, real problems, and the way his heart was broken, isn't welcome in a Christian novel. Most Christian readers would flame it online, write angry letters to the publisher and the author, and many of them would return it. Why? Because A'yen never "repents of his sin". He continues to accept that he's bi, embrace what he is without flaunting it, and ask that his friends and family love him as he is. He settles down with a woman because she makes him feel complete, but he doesn't regret his years with a man. Because that man taught him the true meaning of love.

Back in February I decided to leave behind the chafing restrictions of the Christian market and embrace writing on the other side, known in Christian circles as the ABA or secular side. In large part because A'yen isn't welcome in Christian fiction. Because being honest and real about the struggles people face in the real world isn't welcome. I have a problem with that, and I refuse to muzzle my characters and force them to be something they're not.

The whole experience with this file still bothers me. It left me crying out inside "Lord, have mercy!" Instead of showing his love to the world, far too many of us have become that brood of vipers.


The Next Doctor

In case you missed it, the Internet exploded yesterday. I saw some stuff about the Whovian universe voting in a new pope, and that describes it pretty well.

The BBC had a stroke of genius in announcing it live, on TV, simulcast across the globe. My sister and I tuned in with much excitement and bouncing in our seats. Who would it be? Would they go young again, or older?

Older, it turns out. Peter Capaldi is the next Doctor, and we'll meet him in the Christmas episode when Matt Smith regenerates. I've only seen him in the Fires of Pompeii episode, and in Torchwood: Children of Earth. I go into it having no idea what his acting chops are like, so he's practically an unknown to me.

Which leads me to a whole 'nother thing. I'm American, and Doctor Who has never been huge here. Until the last four years. David Tennant (my first Doctor) brought the show to the US with smashing success, and Matt Smith took it to heights of popularity I don't think anyone expected. It was only for the last two seasons that BBC America showed it here on the same day it aired in the UK. Before that the only option was the channel formerly known as The SciFi Channel. And as all original Farscape fans know they're not exactly good at telling viewers when a show is going to air.

I'd never watched it before my dad bought a new TV for the living room and finally got a Netflix streaming account. The first six seasons were available for streaming, and we inhaled them. And I do mean inhaled. The first episode I watched all the way through was a Tennant episode. I'm not Rose's biggest fan, but her departure makes me bawl every time I watch it.

What's been interesting to watch online is all the people who are upset about the casting choice. There are a lot of young fans in the US, and I wouldn't exactly call them Whovians either. They're Tennant fans, or Smith fans, with no idea where all the show has been and no appreciation for it being the longest science fiction show in the history of history. It's a little saddening to see people upset about Capaldi being "too old", and "they should have brought Tennant back because nobody else can possibly be the Doctor".

Really? REALLY??? I want to shake some of these people and tell them to watch the Doctors Revisited specials on BBC America. Each Doctor is unique and brings something special and all his own to the character. Yes, Tennant is my first, but I like Troughton and Baker too. Matt used #2, Patrick Troughton, as his inspiration for his Doctor. Having now seen some of the Troughton episodes I totally see the similarities.

I can't quite believe I'm saying this, but I trust Moffat. I trust him to make the right casting decision and choose the right Doctor to take over in the direction the show is headed. We have no idea what's going to happen in the 50th special, except the Doctor is going to be facing part of whatever he's been running from since 1963.

Whovians: Trust Moffat. I know that's hard, but trust Moffat. Despite the fact that if he walked into a bar twith George R.R. Martin and Joss Whedon every character you've ever loved will die, trust him.


When a book falls flat

I'm a voracious reader, in addition to being a writer. At the moment I'm piecing together a paranormal/science fiction romance mashup featuring shapeshifters. Cat shapeshifters, mountain lions to be specific. So I'm in devouring ("market research") mode.

Since I'm still waiting for the next Dark-Hunter book to show up at the library I settled on something my library actually has on the shelf, Savage Hunger by Terry Spear. It was my first official were-shifter book, and my first book by her. Sad to say I won't be reading anymore of hers, not even the sequel to Savage Hunger or A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing. (I have a thing for SEAL's, to the point where I could overlook the fact he's a werewolf instead of a werecat)

As a reader several things bugged me. The dialog was stilted, I never really connected with the characters, reactions to events weren't just wrong, but not there at all. The whole thing fell apart for me when she tried to bring in some PTSD elements, and utterly failed.

As a writer, I kept reading so I could figure out exactly where it went wrong and she lost me. So I did. I finished it yesterday afternoon.

It comes down to character motivation. It was there on the surface, but it didn't go deep enough. Connor didn't give Kat enough of a reason to stay with him. Maya, his twin sister, was childish and borderline annoying. Maya turned Kat into a shifter, and Kat never went through *any* of the stages one would expect to cope with what's happened to her. Especially in light of the fact she was suffering from PTSD, which I didn't buy one bit because it seemed like an afterthought.

Then there were the military pieces of the plot, which I also didn't buy. I'm no military expert, but I know my way around how things work. The setup Spear used, despite her time in the Army Reserves, is something I don't believe for a second could actually happen. Especially in Columbia. She had Kat participating in a drug cartel sting. The general Army doesn't do that. Spec ops does. And women aren't allowed in spec ops for very good reasons.

Going back to the dialog, it never sounded real. Then there was all the passive sentence construction, telling instead of showing, unsympathetic characters. This thing was set in the Amazon jungle and I never once *felt* like I was in the Amazon. The descriptions of the jungle were lackluster at best, and absent most of the time.

Sorry, Ms. Spear. I tried, but you didn't hook me.


Caught In Amber

Image courtesy of Cathy Pegau
Cathy's a fellow SFRB member.

The description for Caught in Amber attracted my attention when it came out earlier this year. The combination of science and crime fiction isn't one you see very often.

Took me awhile to get around to it though. *coughcough* Sherrilyn Kenyon *coughcough* (I know what I want for Christmas. My very own Acheron! And Nykyrian Quiakedes for my birthday.)

It didn't disappoint! I loved the noir feel of the book. Nathan Sterling, the hero, hit most of my hero buttons. Protective, dedicated, a good guy.

Sasha was very unique and not once did I find myself skimming her POV scenes to get back to him. Kudos to Cathy for getting my attention and keeping it! Not an easy thing to do.

What stood out most to me was the religion element in the book, the Revivalists. It played a key part in Sasha's backstory and in the world building. As a person of faith myself I love seeing futuristic takes on religion and matters of faith. Some modern SF authors ignore faith and religion entirely, as if they have no concept of how important faith and religion have always been to humanity. There's no reason to think that won't continue in the future. I really enjoyed having this element present in the world building. It gave Nevarro's culture a true sense of completeness.

Caught In Amber is set in the same world as Cathy's other two books with Carina Press, but Amber is the only one I plan to read. F/F romance does less than nothing for me. I already have a long history of severe dislike of books without his POV, so I've no interest in exploring a romance without a hero. But if I was willing to read F/F I wouldn't hesitate. If Cathy ever writers another M/F romance in this world I will buy it.


SFR Brigade Blog Hop: Rachel's Alien Planet

Welcome to the second midsummer blog hop hosted by the members of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade! The bottom of this post contains the links to the rest of the blogs. Don't be shy! We have some great prizes. Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form for your chance to win. The prizes are listed in the box at the bottom of this post.

When I saw the blog theme I decided to share about my alien planet, Lok'ma. It's the lost home of an enslaved humanoid alien race and most of the first book, My Name Is A'yen, takes place here.

About three years ago I found out about the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia and spent a couple hours looking at pictures. Back then I had no idea I would one day be writing science fiction.

When A'yen came to me and I found out they were looking for his planet, I knew the Plitvice Lakes had to make an appearance. I ended up building the entire planet around these lakes. They're gobsmackingly gorgeous, especially when they're frozen.

I also have a thing for autumn leaves. Except I live in Louisiana where there's basically no such thing. Lok'ma's trees come in many colors. All the time. I spent several more hours on Google one evening looking at fall foliage in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains.

Lok'ma continues to be a work-in-progress. These two features are my favorites, and my characters' favorites.
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When plots change...

I write by the seat of my pants. When I stall out, as I did a few weeks ago, it means something is wrong. Really, really wrong.

Turns out I was so settled on making To Save A Life Ro's story that I ignored A'yen. At my own peril. I hit 29,000 and change on what is now the scrapped version and things shut down. Ro and Jasmyn stopped talking to me, and A'yen started chewing me out. I know that sounds weird to some people, but these characters are like real people to me.

I did what I always do and rambled at my CP, telling her I wasn't sure if this was me missing A'yen being my POV character or if he was telling me he legitimately hadn't dealt with all his issues yet. Turns out A'yen was right and I was wrong. He hasn't dealt with all his issues yet and has thrown me some curve balls. He's got a lot of bitterness to deal with and a few people to forgive. Probably not a coincidence he's mimicking where I was a couple years ago.

There were all these scenes in my head with A'yen, all kinds of stuff going on, and I couldn't figure out how to make it work with Ro as the lead. Note to future self: Listen to the characters and save yourself some grief! Now all those scenes work and I'm beyond excited about TSAL again.

To Save A Life has been re-started and in three weeks word count is almost back to where it was the first time. Part of that is because some of what I'd already written I got to keep, but the majority of it is new stuff.  All the snippets I've posted of To Save A Life no longer apply.

Taran still exists, but not as a major secondary character. All of his background is still important and he will still show up, but in a different way. He's been much more talkative than Ro ever has and I think Taran will be the hero of book four and let me finish building the Marcasian Empire and exploring the nanosteel alloy I've created. By that point A'yen will have dealt with the rest of his issues and be more secure on his throne. I hope.


Falling In Love With His POV

Most of our reading habits are formed when we're children. My childhood included lots of Nancy Drew, every horse book I could get my hands on, The Boxcar Children, and The Hardy Boys. I collect Nancy and the Hardys.

In mulling over my POV preferences after being disappointed with Gabriel's Ghost, I had several light bulb moments. I talked about one last week, and today I'm going to explore the other big one.

I started reading Nancy and the Hardys when I was around eight or nine. The Secret of the Old Mill is my favorite classic Hardy Boys book, while Campaign of Crime, Strategic Moves, the Phoenix Conspiracy trilogy, and Brother Against Brother are my favorite Casefiles.

Frank is my favorite brother. Especially in the Phoenix Conspiracy trilogy. A side of him comes out that's never been seen before and it's amazing. I own nearly a full set of Casefiles too, and way more of them than any other format.

My first forays into the writing world were in Hardy Boys fan fiction. Of course I was writing in largely his POV. And I loved it. I still love it. Hardy Boys is the only fan fiction I've read mountains of, and it was because I knew I was getting majority his POV. Most HB fan fic skews heavy to Joe, but that's okay. There's very little female POV.

I think my early love of the Hardy Boys--something I have not outgrown--is a big part of why I love his POV so much. It's probably a big part of why I write heavily skewed to his POV. I practiced the basics of writing fiction in something that's 90% male POV.

I dabbled in Thoroughbred fan fic too, after I stopped writing HB fan fic. But even then I was fascinated with a secondary boy character named Tor. I won a TB fan fic short story contest with something written in Tor's POV.

What I'm calling my SFR/paranormal mash-up, The Slipstream Files, was partly inspired by the Hardy Boys. I realized this a couple weeks ago when a HB fan fic friend was in the hospital. My main characters are two brothers, and I realize now their relationship is somewhat patterned after my favorite fan fic portrayals of Frank and Joe.

I wonder if the arrival of Luke and Cole has anything to do with the new Hardy Boys Adventures series and the fact I'm actually enjoying it...


When A Romance Is Not A Romance

I'm a girl with strong opinions, and those opinions include the kind of books I read. I'm a romance writer, and a romance devourer. Because of that I have very specific things I want in a romance. The most important is hers and HIS point of view.

I've never been fond of first person point-of-view. It usually locks me into the head of the person I care the least about. I gravitate to books with strong male leads, and I prefer for the male lead to have the majority of the POV scenes. I know I'm in a minority on this and I deal with it. But I feel cheated when I start on something billed as a romance and I find out his POV isn't there.

This happened to me a couple weeks ago, and I'll name the book. Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair. Intriguing set-up, loved the plot blurb, right up my alley, conspiracies aplenty, telepaths. And first person POV. For some reason I didn't bother to look at the first page when I left the library with it. Linnea's one of the queens of SFR so I thought I'd give it a fair shake.

Couldn't do it. The further I got into it the more cheated I felt. I didn't finish it. It was easy to abandon when The Darkest Kiss arrived at the library, and easy to abandon again when The Darkest Whisper arrived Monday morning. I flipped to the last chapter and read it. The revelation there made me really wish Sully's POV had been in it. But it wasn't. I probably won't read the second one, because it's the same MC in first person. I didn't connect with her at all. Honestly, she got on my nerves. I wanted to be in Sully's head and Ren's head. Not Chaz's. The third one is in third person, so I may give it a try.

Now, to contrast this with two third person series with one POV that I did enjoy. First up is Sara Creasy's Scarabaeus books. I knew they had a romantic sub-plot, but it was by no means a romance. The feelings Edie has for Finn could be removed and it's still a great book. I inhaled both books back to back. I bought them, in fact, and they will be read again.

I devoured The Books of the Raksura by Martha Wells and they were 100% his POV. There was a nice romance subplot and I stayed up too late for two weeks inhaling these. I finished the second one at 10:30 one night, hopped on Baen and was reading the third one in less than 10 minutes.

There are two important differences here. One, they're not billed as equal parts SF and romance, or with the Raksura books equal parts romance and fantasy. It's romantic SF and romantic fantasy. Two, it's third person. I adore third person. It's my favorite and it's what I write.

But I'm calling this When A Romance Isn't A Romance. For me it boils down to this: If you're telling me a book is a romance and all I get is her POV, it's not a romance to me. A romance is about two people falling in love. I want to see BOTH of them on that journey. Not just her. My bias toward the male POV is more fine with a romance subplot being told entirely through his POV than hers. Edie and Finn have begun to fade from my memory, but not Moon of the Raksura. Never once in any of those did I find myself wishing for Jade's POV (Moon's love interest).

When I started writing My Name Is A'yen I decided I was going to write it exactly how *I* wanted to read a romance. A'yen dominates the story. If I go by just his and Fae's POV scenes it's something like three to one in his favor. My secondary POV's are also male characters. Ditto for the second book. I'm in the third one now and, again, it's majority him. I have six POV characters. Only two are women.

Don't try and sell me something as a romance if it's only her POV. I couldn't care less about seeing it through her eyes. Even when reading a traditionally structured romance I miss his POV if I go too long without it and I'll start skimming hers so I can hurry up and savor his.

Call me weird, but there it is.


Of new computers and Windows 8

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic
Imagine my face in that picture. For the last three months. Because of my laptop. You see, it was old. Eight years old. Young to a human, dinosaur for a computer. It ran Windows 7 and we got along fine for two and a half years. I loved its massive hard drive, my desktop gadgets, the fact that it was free. Mostly because it was free, a hand-me-down from my mom.

But, being a dinosaur, it weighed a ton. As in more than eight pounds. That's a ton when you're kicked back on your bed writing. Needless to say I didn't do it much. It also ran SUPER hot and a cooling pad was a necessity.

It started acting up. Freezing, hanging up, not doing what I told it to do. The first time it took me TWO DOZEN clicks to get it to restart I told my dad I might need a computer soonish. He agreed, said he was thinking about upgrading his laptop and I could have his old one. Free computer, I can totally deal with it being bigger than I want.

Except things kept getting worse. And worse, and worse. Until I could only run two programs at a time. I'm a multitasker and a writer. Two programs doesn't work for me. I couldn't stream Pandora or Netflix. Oh the horror! But I couldn't afford a new computer. So I talked to my parents, they agreed to replace it for me, and I started researching. Decided I wanted an ultralight. Found one on NewEgg, researched it, asked questions. Was settled on it, in fact. The thought of Windows 8 didn't bug me, because I'm a geek, and I know my way around Windows. Mostly.

Then I decided to look around town and see what was here. Went to Best Buy first this past Friday, intending to work my way back home. Sitting on the display shelf was a sleek little HP. On clearance. For less then the one on NewEgg. With a better processor and real dual memory slots. I picked it up. Heaven! Weighed less than four pounds, same size as my dinosaur. A really sweet older gentleman employee came to see if I needed any help and we set off looking for the battery life. Never did find it.

But we kept chatting while we looked, I shared my woes. Asked how many of this model they had in stock. Just the one on display. But he'd take another $30 off if I bought it that day. So I did. I was beginning to fear I'd wake up some morning and find my dinosaur DOA.

Called my mom, said I'd be longer than planned because they had to wipe the demo stuff off of it. No biggie. I had a book in the car and needed some food. Came home. Handed it to my mom to see her jaw drop at how little it weighs. Texted the product card to my dad, and Saturday morning at work he researched my processor and geeked out over it being top of the line in this category.

Friday night and Saturday I set up, installed, copied files, and gushed about the awesomeness of my new computer. Showed it to EVERYBODY who's come in the house. I actually kind of like Windows 8. I don't find it heinous or The Worst Idea Ever. My Netflix is blazing fast. I can run Chrome now. I have a battery that'll last four hours if I'm not surfing the 'Net.

So what did I get? An HP Sleekbook 14. For under $300. With TWO USB 3.0 ports. I am one happy writer.

Isn't it awesome? His name is Zanzibar.



From Sherrilyn's site
It's been a long time since I got sucked into an author's voice, style, and universes to the point where I want to read every single thing the author has ever written So long I can't remember who it was.

I discovered Sherrilyn Kenyon last month. I know, I know. I'm probably the last romance reader in the universe who'd never read one.

To make matters worse, I also discovered Gena Showalter last month. I read her first. Checked out The Darkest Night at the library and happily fell in love with Maddox and the Lords of the Underworld.

While I'm reading that one, one of my friends is reading Born of Night, and badgering me without mercy. You HAVE to read Born of Night! It's like A'yen and you're going to love it. If I didn't know better I'd think you got the idea from this book. (I wrote My Name Is A'yen when I still had no clue Sherrilyn Kenyon even existed.)

I devoured The Darkest Night the week of March 17th. I remember it because we spent the weekend at Hodges Gardens and I finished it there. To shut my friend up I agreed to get Born of Night next.

Oh. My. Goodness. Maddox was good, yes. But Nykyrian is so much better!!! I have a thing for brooding, tortured heroes with horrible pasts who need a good woman to see past it and give him a reason to live again. I love Nykyrian Quiakides. He hits all my hot hero buttons, and then some.

Plowed through that one in about three days. Back to the library for Syn. Then back for Devyn. Then Caillen and Darling. Darling's I read in three days. Yes, all 614 pages in three days. The men of The League cost me a lot of sleep. But they also helped me solve the problems I was having with To Save A Life.

I am definitely a Sherrilyn Kenyon fan. It's like she can read my mind about what I want a book to be. But, as a writer myself, I know I have a penchant for mimicking an author if I read a lot of that author in one fell swoop. I was in editing mode at the time, so had no problems inhaling five SK books in 21 days. But now I'm in creation mode again and need to mix it up.

The friend I mentioned who got me hooked on her? She's taunting me. Accidentally on purpose. I think it's a conspiracy. She's inhaling the Dark-Hunter series and badgering me about reading them, even though she agrees with me that I need a break. That's what friends are for right? I'm doing the same thing with her about the rest of The League. Between her Goodreads updates and the pictures of the Styxx manuscript on Sherrilyn's FB page, my resolve is being tested to its limits.

What's a girl to do? Try NOT to think about grabbing the first Dark-Hunter book, for starters. Second, read some more Gena Showalter. I inhaled Last Kiss Goodnight last week and want to explore the Alien Huntress universe. After I get to the know the Lords of the Underworld a little better. Lucien's book finally came back to the library, but I had to request Reyes'. Now if only it would get here faster!


Birthing a Character

Since I have a manuscript sitting at Harper Voyager that's the first in a series I figured it was time to get going on the third one. I've been ruminating on it for about five months now and not really getting anywhere.

I knew a piece was missing, but it wouldn't show up. So last week I let my mind wander. I do that a lot and that's when I get my best stuff. I knew the main characters in this one are Ro and Jasmyn. They both show up in The King's Mistress and Ro is a secondary POV character. I knew his sister, Da'Renna, had to play a big part in the third one, because she's his reason for not killing himself.

Taran! Via Pinterest
With that information in the back of my mind I went to sleep. At some point on March 21st a man named Taran walked into my head. I knew that second he's the man Ren loves. The man standing between her and freedom, her and her brother. I let him play for a full week, hammered out a couple of scenes with him, let him evolve, and things started clicking.

I knew someone gets kidnapped, and I thought it was A'yen's daughter. Wrong! I'd already planted the seeds in the closing of The King's Mistress. So now I'm following the seeds, discovering the next layer of politics in my universe, and wondering how the hell Ren is going to choose between her brother and her lover, especially since her lover is owned by the Marcasian emperor's younger brother and fourth in line for the throne.

So now I'm fleshing out my bad guys and building an empire that combines the Roman empire and the days of the pharaohs. Whoo!


In Which I Ruminate on Paranormals

I'm really, really, REALLY late to the paranormal romance bandwagon. REALLY late. As in I read my first one two weeks ago.

There's a lot of talk in SFR circles about how we can become as popular as paranormals. It always comes down to the presence of the genre in other mediums, like TV.

So it got me thinking. How far back does the presence of paranormal romance on TV go? Pretty far back. Specifically I Dream Of Jeannie and Bewitched, sitcoms from the 60's. Sitcoms I watched as a kid. I remember when Elizabeth Montgomery died and Nick At Nite did a week-long marathon of Bewitched.

Then Joss Whedon came along with Buffy. I've never been a Buffy fan, but I love Angel. Especially starting in season two with Wesley, Gunn, and the semi-regular presence of Lorne, then Fred's arrival at the end of the season. The romantic in me loves Fred and Wesley's long-suffering romance. The hero lover in me loves everything about Angel. He's my perfect dark, tortured hero searching for redemption.

Other than Angel I've never been much into the whole vampire thing. My sister, on the other hand, is all about vampires. I gave her Varney The Vampyre for her birthday. She's all about zombies too.

Considering paranormal romance goes back further than most realize, with Jeannie and Samantha, it makes me wonder if SFR will ever have the pop cultural presence paranormal romance does. We don't have a Jeannie or Samantha, or even a Buffy. We could have if SciFi hadn't cancelled Farscape. Crichton and Aeryn were just getting started. There's never been a good romance arc on Star Trek either. About the closest thing we have is Fringe, but it's over now and was never really that much a part of pop culture.

What did I pick for my first introduction to paranormal? The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter. I plan to read the rest of the Lords of the Underworld, but at the moment I'm devouring Sherrilyn Kenyon's The League.


SFR Brigade Presents: Worth Fighting For

I'm deep into edits on The King's Mistress, while still writing on the current WIP. The current WIP, Worth Fighting For, is what I've decided to share today. Here's the back cover blurb I'm working off of:

After pissing off his mistress for the millionth time she leaves Varune on his home world with a farmer. To teach him how easy his life is. Marcasian raiders kill the farmer and Varune takes his chance. He strikes a deal with the man's children: to lead them to safety in exchange for being reported as dead when they reach their aunt in Capital City.

Beth Harrison wants a better life for her brothers and sisters, not one with an abusive father who drinks too much. News of the raids in her home province send her home with one thought: find her siblings and get the hell off Corsica.
Finding her siblings in the company of a slave is the least of her problems.
Warring logging companies in the Corsican forests push her further from her goal, and Varune ever closer to his. Suspicion gives way to friendship and the possibility of something more. Beth's found something worth fighting for. The real question is has Varune?

This one is playing out a little different than I'm used to with a romance. Varune and Beth don't meet until chapter five, page 44 to be exact. That's just how it worked out. And so I introduce Varune, a man so set on being free that he may destroy the best thing to ever happen to him.
The oldest Harrison child held the key to freedom in his hand. “My father’s dead.”

“I’d say I’m sorry but I know you don’t really miss him.”

The boy slid back a step. Clenched the key in his fist. “How do you know how I feel about him?”

Varune studied the boy. No older than fourteen, all arms and legs, firmly in the most awkward stage of human development. “It’s how I survive. I’ve seen the way you protect your siblings from him and heard him yelling at you.” He eased to his feet. “Daniel, right?”

Daniel nodded. “My father said you’re dangerous.”

“I’m not.” He stood with his feet shoulder-width apart, hands in front of him, not moving. If he wanted out of here he had to win Daniel’s trust.

“I know he doesn’t own you. He can’t afford to buy a slave. Why are you here?”

Winning a child’s trust meant telling the truth. Telling the truth meant a chance to escape and disappear into the forest and mountains he loved. “I pissed my mistress off one too many times and she left me here to teach me a lesson about how good life with her is. I also know every inch of the forests between here and Capital City.”


SFR Brigade Presents: MNIA Part 5

I was thinking about doing some from my current WIP, but what the heck! I'll do at least one more from My Name Is A'yen. It's been awesome getting feedback in the comments and seeing other people fall in love with these characters.

Here's part one, part two, part three, and part four.

This is longer than the 200 words we're supposed to do, but it's another taste of just how different A'yen is from the rest of his people.

The door slid open and he crossed the threshold. Dr. Hart looked up from the table, frowned and stood with her arms crossed, staring at him. “Dr. Cooper told me he saw you in the captain’s quarters.”
Yes he did.”
Why were you over there?”
Her tone made him bristle and he squared his shoulders. No human, man or woman, would ever break him. She had to know he meant his next words. “I told you, this ship is my second home. Cap and KK have always treated me like one of their children. Your presence isn’t going to change anything. My past is none of your business.”
To her credit, she didn’t back down. “When it affects my present it most certainly is. I know you heard Dr. Cooper on the shuttle yesterday. It was no idle threat. If you don’t toe his line he’ll have you locked down faster than you can blink and there won’t be a damn thing I can to do stop it.” Her arms relaxed and the fire left her eyes “I don’t want that any more than you do.”
Why should I believe you?” Still keeping himself straight and tall he tried to let the tension flow out of him. If he didn’t he’d end up on the floor again.
I can’t force you. I have a feeling I can’t force you to do anything.”
Nobody can.”


In Which I Ruminate on Labels

Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I've recently discovered SF Signal and can easily get lost in the Mind Meld column archives. I did some of that yesterday afternoon. In "The Directions Speculative Fiction Hasn't Taken Yet", one panelist's contribution really stood out.

The panelist is Diana M. Pho. She asked this question:

Are readers the ones who tend to categorize, or is it us, the producers and creators, who rely on labels more? Is it possible to go “labelless” and have readers find their own words to describe it?

I think the tendency to categorize with labels is human. It doesn't depend on whether one is a reader or an author. Humans have a need to create order out of chaos, for the most part. Labels, and genre labels, help us achieve this. They're the "keys" to finding what we want.

Case in point: The only real bookstore in my town is Books-A-Million. Several years ago they decided to do away with ALL genre sections and file everything alphabetical by author under fiction or non-fiction. I have no idea if it was a local decision or a national decision, but I can tell you it was a disaster. I think it lasted all of two weeks, a month tops.

As a reader, I can tell you it was a nightmare. Unless I knew exactly who and what I was looking for, no way was I leaving there with a book. Browsing around in the genre I wanted to read and finding something new was impossible. That's how readers discover new authors, for the most part, and that ability was taken away. Even if you buy most of your books on Amazon I'm betting you look through the "what other people bought" carousel. I do. I've found some cool stuff doing that.

Is is possible to go "labelless"? Yes. Is it desirable? Based on the fact that Books-A-Million is once again sorted by genre in fiction, and subject in non-fiction, I'm going to say no.

I think as writers and authors we can get too hung up on specificity in our labeling, because we have to do that in proposals and queries. Does it really matter that, to an agent, I label what I'm writing planetary-based science fiction romance with a space opera vibe? I don't think so. What does matter is that it's science fiction romance. There is such a thing as being too specific I think. But the inverse, not specific enough, is just as dangerous.

The better way for me to label my SFR is like this: Do you like Farscape and Firefly? Do you think Crichton and Aeryn, and Mal and Inara, are the most overlooked couples in science fiction TV history? If so you'll probably enjoy my flavor of SFR.

Now if I can only get it published... Plans are in motion to make it happen this year.


Meet A'yen and Fae

The story behind the creation of this universe is a very unique one for me. A'yen walked through my head in a dream the night of May 15th, 2012. I remember it because it was the same day my sister left for her vacation in France and the chicken drama started. (My sister "farms" for her hobby and while she was gone for three weeks a raccoon killed all seventeen of her chickens. One at a time.)

BBC via Pinterest
It sticks out for another reason too. May 16th, 2012, would have been my third wedding anniversary. The date that should have started the best period of my life instead signified the beginning of the worst two and a half years of my life. But that's a story for another time. Because on May 16th, 2012, I started the development process of what turned into My Name Is A'yen. I became a Whovian in this same span of time and inhaled seasons 1, 3, and 4 while she was gone. We hadn't yet seen Vincent and the Doctor when my sis went to the Louvre, so she didn't know to look for him and why his Sunflowers painting should make you cry.

IMDB via Pinterest
Originally his name was spelled A'yon. He informed me very quickly I was spelling it wrong. I could see him clear as day in my head, but was having a hard time describing his features to my crit partner. He's a humanoid alien. In an effort to show her what he looked like I began combing through every TV alien database I could find. I spent weeks looking for his face. Then it hit me. The Face of Boe, minus the tentacles and wrinkles.

Still wasn't enough though. I needed more to match the vision in my head. While catching Doctor Who reruns on BBC America they kept playing commercials for Copper. British costume dramas are amazing and it's set during the Civil War in New York City. Must watch! And there I met Tom Weston-Jones and his amazing blue eyes.

 If A'yen was human, he'd look exactly like Tom Weston-Jones.

Via Pinterest
Fae was a lot easier to cast. I knew she had bright green eyes almost too big for her face and black hair. She's Zooey Deschannel, but with green eyes instead of blue. Another writer friend snagged the image I pinned and Photoshopped it for me with the exact correct shade of bright, almost fake, green eyes. Which turned out to be an important clue to her real identity. I knew immediately she was an archaeologist. I wasn't ready to let go of all the work I'd done building myself as a historical romance writer. I'm over that now, but Fae is still an archaeologist. I have thousands of years of history to fill in for A'yen's people and I'm enjoying every second of it.


Stay out of my bubble!

I'm an introvert. Every person in my life will tell you that. I'm perfectly happy to be left alone for hours on end, with no sound whatsoever except the hum of my laptop's cooling pad. As I'm writing this on Saturday afternoon this is the exact state I've been in for the last four hours. My social interaction today has consisted of asking my mom if both the cats are outside and telling her I found an SFR where Russia is the dominant culture, and a thirty second conversation with my brother before he left for work. He's an extrovert, by the way, could sell a lifetime supply of ice and reindeer meat to a Finnish reindeer herder.

We introverts tend to be a misunderstood lot. People think we're weird, there's "something wrong" with us because we're not friends with every person we meet and we don't talk all the time or have to be the center of attention. We don't like being interrupted when we're engrossed in something. For some of us the idea of talking to people we don't know is downright terrifying. We're not afraid of silence or being still or the dreaded (to extroverts anyway) "being alone".

A lot of people, all of them extroverts I'm sure, tell us there's something wrong with us. I'm also a homeschool graduate and never spent a single day in a public or private school classroom. I'm very comfortable with who I am and mostly immune to peer pressure. Homeschooling provides, in my opinion, the perfect atmosphere for introverts to thrive. We're not drowning in noise. We can go off to another part of the house and be alone while we do math so we can think. People aren't constantly trying to talk to us and get us to "open up". I thrived in a homeschool setting, whereas in a public school setting I would have withered up and never discovered my creative side.

Because of that, many homeschooled children are introverts who are always being accused of having no socialization skills. Nine times out of ten it's a bald-faced lie. There is NOTHING wrong with a kid who'd rather read than talk about nothing with people who think he's weird or rude or aloof or socially awkward.

I'm a homeschooled introvert. I don't lack social skills. I simply interact in a different way. If I have my head down in a book or a notebook or I'm staring into space, leave me the hell alone! If I want to talk to you I will. Don't try to chit-chat with me. You'll get nowhere real fast. This is actually etiquette rule #1 for dealing with introverts: Don't try to force us to be like you.

For some of us, extroverts are scary. I'm not one of them, and at writer's conferences I do a pretty good imitation of being an extrovert. But I pay for it when I get home with a week of being totally, mind-numbingly exhausted and I stay locked in my room, emerging only for food and the bathroom. And The Big Bang Theory, of course. But I also know when I'm at writer's conferences most of the other attendees are introverts too. It's easy to be a little more outgoing when we're surrounded by people who UNDERSTAND why you drift off into space, or huddle in a corner, and don't force their way into a most sacred bubble because you can't possibly be having a good time over there by yourself.

What sparked this whole rumination was Twitter and the link to an article in The Atlantic, called "Introverted Kids Need to Learn to Speak Up At School". It's a teacher ruminating on her interactions with the parents of introverts in regards to class participation grades. What ticked me off was this:
This is no problem for the extroverts, who live for the opportunity to talk about their ideas. However, I also teach introverts, who live in fear of being asked these sorts of questions
Hmm. For a teacher who said she's read "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking", she doesn't seem to have really grasped the difference between an introvert and someone with real, valid social anxiety. I don't know a single introvert who lives in fear of being asked questions. But quite a few of us live in fear of others' reactions to our answers, or being made fun of because we have a different view of something. Public school settings are one of the most hostile places in the world for a young introvert.

Yes, students need to participate in class. That's how many learn. But introverts tend to learn best by reading or seeing. Not by talking. Instead of a teacher focusing on the fear of an introvert student, the teacher AND PARENTS should be making every effort to help the introvert be comfortable in the exchange. Talking about an introvert being afraid of something will make the introvert afraid of said something.

Thankfully one of the stories linked to in this article is another about Caring For Your Introvert. I love this:
The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. Still, we endure stoically, because the etiquette books—written, no doubt, by extroverts—regard declining to banter as rude and gaps in conversation as awkward. We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts' Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say "I'm an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush."
This is also pure genius, especially the third one:
How can I let the introvert in my life know that I support him and respect his choice? First, recognize that it's not a choice. It's not a lifestyle. It's an orientation.
Second, when you see an introvert lost in thought, don't say "What's the matter?" or "Are you all right?"
Third, don't say anything else, either.

To sum up I present the link to the best infographic I've seen in a long time.


Creation mode

Paired with my love of Star Trek is a love of old things. I love history. I love writing by hand too. There's nothing quite like it. When my dad jumped on the fountain pen bandwagon a few years ago it didn't take long for the rest of us to follow him.

I love my fountain pens. I'm up to six. The one pictured is my newest, a Noodler's Nib Creaper Flex. The color is called Lapis Inferno.

I finished the first draft of The King's Mistress day before yesterday, but this page of notes is actually from last week. The plot of #3, To Save A Life, is still simmering and it's not quite there yet. The heroine is still being tight-lipped about things.

Heroines do that to me. Every. Single. Time. It took 140,000 words across two books, plus an amazing class at a writer's conference last fall and a page of backstory notes for me to get a handle on why Fae is the way she is. You can't have a romance, IMO, without a heroine's POV.

The page of notes in the picture is on Jasmyn Jenkins, heroine of To Save A Life. Heroes tend to walk into my head about 75% formed. Heroines, sometimes I'm lucky to even have her name. Jasmyn has been a little different. Thanks to the tricks I learned in the above mentioned writer's conference class making heroines real is a lot easier. Jasmyn's creation is coming along, but I still don't have enough to start writing To Save A Life.

Enter Beth Harrison, heroine of one of the prequels, Worth Fighting For to be specific. I've had her name for awhile, but when I pegged her archetype Monday night she blossomed into a three-dimensional person. So that's the one I've started working on. It's going to be fun!


How to recharge this geek's creative batteries

Nerdgasm and geekgasm are fun words. Especially in a house full of geeks, or when watching one's nerdy brother play Killer Bunnies and the Journey to Jupiter for the first time. You get your supplies at Zumdish's Intergalactic Department Store, fyi. Major geek points if you know what that's from!

There aren't any nifty words for the opposite effect, though. Which I've been in for the last few weeks when I discovered Farscape was no longer on Netflix streaming. My brother has it all on DVD, but he's three hours away. Most inconvenient when the sudden need for Farscape hits.
The whole fam are recent converts to Fringe, which is free for streaming to Amazon Prime members. Yay! But I watch it with my sister so we don't get all mixed up like we did with Doctor Who and have to remember who's seen which episode and where we left off together.

She went to bed before me the other night, when we were watching Fringe, and I'm sitting there feeling the need to recharge the creative juices. But there's no Farscape on Netflix and last time I checked it on Amazon Prime it wasn't free. What the heck, I'll check again. Boom! Free for Amazon Prime members!!

One happy geek with creative juices recharged: Check.


To Romance, Or Not To Romance

When I first started writing seriously in 2007 (by that I mean with the idea of getting published someday) I initially balked at the idea of calling myself a romance writer. Part of that had to do with impressions I formed as a child, part of it had to do with the not so great things many Christians think when they hear the words "romance novel".

But as I've grown and matured as a writer--and a woman--it's been easier and easier to accept that yes, I do indeed write romance. And I'm quite proud of it. Writing a good romance is hard work.

I'm hard at work on the second book of what I fondly call "the space opera", mostly because I haven't found the right series title yet. The first one was clearly a romance. Hero and heroine meet, instant attraction, he wants to protect her though he knows his heart will never survive losing yet another person he loves. She's waiting, without even knowing it, for the man who will see her and need her, unlike every other man in her life. Their first kiss clocks in at 600-something words. They get married at the end of the book. It's a romance. Set in the future. That involves faster-than-light travel and oh, can't forget the aliens!

The second one, not so much of a romance. H&H from first book are the main H&H in this one, are still very much falling in love and dealing with the fallout of who he really is and how it changes their relationship. So it's very romantic. But it's not a romance according to the definition of a romance.

Last week I realized I missed it. The whole crafting a romance thing. Boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. I really miss it. A lot. There's nothing more amazing, for me, than watching two people discover each other.

So while it is with great sadness that I finish up The King's Mistress and say goodbye to A'yen and Fae as my leads, it is with great anticipation I start plotting To Save A Life and make Ro and Jasmine fall in love.