February 15, 2019

Romance 2.0

I love love. Every since I was a little girl. From my first fairy tale to my first crush. To say I am a romantic—perhaps even hopeless—would be pretty accurate. I believe in soulmates, true love, fate, destiny... I believe in love.

It should come as no surprise that I also love to read and write romance novels. And enjoy a movie or TV show with a love story. Michael Bolton got it right. "Love is a wonderful thing." Love gives me hope for the future. A world without love would be a pretty dismal place indeed.

February—the love month—gets me thinking about all kinds—romance, love, hearts, flowers, and a zillion other—stereotypical Valentine's Day things. I've been thinking about romance as a genre.

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Did you read my last two blog posts?

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Last week, I mused about the romance novel. That got me thinking about what subgenres (types of romance novels), themes, and tropes (plot devices) I enjoy to read... and what themes and tropes I've actually used in my writing... and what I'd like to write in the future.

Reading

I read mainly historical and paranormal books... even better when the book is both historical and paranormal... like a time-travel romance. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Highlander series by Karen Marie Moning.

Themes I enjoy? I love a good Highlander or regency romance. The Naked Nobility series by Sally Mackenzie is fantastic. I own the series in paperback and e-book. Time-travel? Yes, please. I like a non-cheesy vampire or an alpha shifter. I've developed a recent fascination with dominance and submission. I've read E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. If that's not your particular cup of tea, there are many others I'd recommend. Club Sin series by Stacey Kennedy. Redemption series by Sarah Castille.

Tropes I enjoy? Retold fairytales, marriage of convenience, fake relationships, reformed rake / playboy, redemption / tortured hero or heroine, soul mates / fate.

Writing

I write mainly paranormal romance, but I have dabbled in some contemporary, my initial foray into the world of romance. What tropes do I write?

Contemporary romance
Fly Boy, my recent Chapters: Interactive Stories TapTale [playboy / alpha hero / mistaken identity]

Paranormal romance
Dream Hunter [protector / redemption]
A Vampire's Tale [tortured hero / protector / redemption / virgin]

Future Books

A Wizard's Choice [tortured hero / dominance / love triangle]

I have many stories left to tell... Stay tuned for a retold fairytale or a conspiracy theory / person in peril.


February 8, 2019

Romance 101

What is a romance novel?

A novel with a central love story and an emotionally satisfying ending (either happily-ever-after or happy-for-now).

Subgenres

A romance novel may also fit into a subgenre or two. To properly belong to a subgenre, the elements unique to the subgenre must be present and integral to the plot. In other words, the story would not work if those elements are removed.
  • Contemporary - novels set from the 1950s to present day
  • Erotic - novels that include explicit sexual interaction
  • Historical - novels set prior to the 1950s
  • Paranormal - novels that include aspects of fantasy or science fiction
  • Inspirational - novels that include religious or spiritual beliefs
  • Suspense - novels that include aspects of suspense, mystery or thriller
  • Youth Adult - novels that feature young adults

Themes

The subgenres can be further subdivided into themes. Contemporary romance includes chick lit, cowboys, medical, and sports. A historical romance covers themes like Highlander, medieval, regency, time-travel, and frontier. Paranormal romances feature ghosts, magic, shapeshifters, time-travel, and vampires.

Tropes

A romance trope is a plot device used to bring lovers together in a story.

According to Romance Writers of America (in a 2014 survey), the top ten most popular romance tropes are:

  • Friends to lovers
  • Soul Mate / Fate
  • Second chance at love
  • Secret romance
  • First love
  • Strong hero / heroine
  • Reunited lovers
  • Love triangle
  • Sexy Billionaire / Millionaire
  • Sassy heroine

Romance is vast literary genre. You can find novels written in every imaginable niche, from 'a secret baby, billionaire, contemporary romance' to 'a time-travel, vampire, paranormal romance'. Romance novels have come a long way since the "bodice rippers" of the '70s and '80s. I am proud to be an avid reader and writer of romance.

What is your favorite type of romance novel?


February 2, 2019

Paranormal versus Fantasy

Why do I write paranormal romance? How does paranormal differ from fantasy?

When I want to understand something, I arm myself with information. I think. I analyze. I conduct research. When I was a kid, we used physical encyclopedias and the public library. Later, encyclopedias were available electronically on CD-ROM. Today, the Internet and Google make research easier and more assessible. There are no more excuses for poor or inaccurate book research.

So... I had a question. I needed information. I did some googling...

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The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'paranormal' as an adjective that means not scientifically explainable. Synonyms include otherworldly, supernatural, unearthly.

The same dictionary defines 'fantasy' as

a noun: a hallucination; the free play of creative imagination; a creation of the imaginative faculty whether expressed or merely conceived; an idea or desire; a daydream; a coin not intended for circulation.

a verb: to indulge in reverie; to create or develop imaginative and often fantastic views or ideas.

an adjective: a game, like fantasy football, in which participants create and manage imaginary teams consisting of players from a particular sport and scoring is based on the statistical performances of the actual players.

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I may be wrong, but paranormal and fantasy—with regards to fictional creation—seem pretty interchangeable. Supernatural creatures, like a vampire or werewolf, are definitely a creation of imagination and fill many a fantasy. But not all fantasies—for instance, princesses and fairy tale castles—must be paranormal.

The dictionary definition of 'paranormal' is much simpler than 'fantasy', but the common denominator is imagination.

Back to my original question... Why do I write paranormal romance? Imagination is the answer. Only the limitless possibilities of the paranormal are a match for my boundless creativity.