I couldn’t take my eyes from his naked butt
as he pumped away at the other woman.
I’d never seen him from that angle, but somehow, from that perspective,
everything became crystal clear. I
remember turning, walking into the dining area, opening the china cabinet,
removing a stack of those horrid dishes, and dropping them, all together, onto
The crash, the clatter of shattering
dinnerware is quite resounding. It
brought IV, naked and flushed all over, on the run.
“What are you doing?” he shouted.
I tossed a cup against the wall right by his
A dessert bowl skimmed above the carpet and
hit the leg of the buffet before cracking in half.
His face purpled as I whipped three saucers
in rapid succession at his hairline. He
ducked, but I discovered that I had a talent for china chucking. He jumped, his bare feet just missing a few
shards of irregular china.
It felt good to fling a few soup bowls on
either side of his naked chest. IV
avoided getting hit, but the bowls wobbled like little UFOs before crashing into
the framed prints on the wall behind him.
He yelped that time.
He lapsed into swearing and
threatening, but I continued pelting dinnerware in his direction. The bimbo in the bedroom must have called the
police because right after the second stack of plates, the super let them in.
So, I got arrested for assault and disturbing
the peace. IV, now clothed, tried to
explain his way out of my apartment and called his mommy on his cell. We all went to the station. *His lawyer
showed up as I was wiping the black ink from my fingers. No judge was handy; I would have to wait until
morning. That was okay, because it gave
me time to cool down in the jail cell with all my new friends.
Taken from China Doll, copyright Irene Peterson 2004
Grand or Why Romance Novels Repeatedly Outsell All Other Genres
There are statistics put
out by the Romance Writers of America that claim that romance novels garnered
$1.368 billion in sales in 2011. These
novels made up 14.3% of the US market, beating out science fiction and mystery
This organization has over 9000 members, not all of whom have been
published, but all of whom are working at being published. Well over 900
romance novels are published every year, now including print and electronic
Because romance novels are entertaining. They are not badly written and they are not
“bodice rippers” any more. As the
reading public has become more sophisticated over the years, so have the themes
of the romances. As women, usually the
main protagonists of these stories, have become more knowledgeable about the
world and have broken into the workforce in fields formerly open only to men,
the need for heroines in romances to be
intelligent and self-assured has changed them.
Back in the time of the bodice ripper romance, it was up to the
noble man, the pirate, the banker, the playboy, the cowboy, the cop or
detective to come along and rescue the poor heroine who was in the hands of the
villain. Now, with the evolved heroine, she more often than not comes to the
rescue of the male protagonist.
It’s all very elementary, though, this attraction to romance
novels. The settings for them are often
exotic or enticingly strange to the reader.
Working in a law firm and handling cases where lives and/or millions of
dollars are at stake is foreign to most readers. Owning a ranch and running it by herself is
something few readers know firsthand, but through the characters of a novel, it
can be exciting. Being a female cop or
FBI agent is something so few ever achieve, but heroines in books live those
fictional lives frequently.
And the research that goes into the stories is long and deep. The writers know if they make a mistake,
twist a fact or make something up, some reader will catch them on it and write
a nasty letter to take the author down a peg or two. It isn’t easy to write
three or more books a year in order to make a living as a romance writer, but
the very successful authors do just that.
Basically, I believe there are two things that make romance novels
so popular: The hunky heroes and the
Hunky heroes are those cover models who are near physical
perfection, usually wearing a sword, cowboy hat or low-slung jeans. His hair is long, easy to brush back off a
broad forehead, or tangle with one’s fingers.
His eyes have that bedroom look that women fall for and his lips are
perfectly sculpted and kissable.
The heroine usually has doubts about her own physical appeal, but
all it takes is a look from that handsome hero and she becomes a gorgeous
sexual prize. Now, how many women don’t secretly
want to trade places with her? So, they
read and fantasize themselves through the danger and heartaches and black
moments of the story to get to the HEA.
HEA stands for Happily Ever After, which is how all romance novels
must end, unless they have a HFN, which is a Happy For Now ending which usually
means in the sequel, the couple will get together permanently, thus becoming
the HEA we want.
An offshoot of the romance genre is what is called Women’s
Fiction. It is similar to a true romance
in that there is a heroine and sometimes but not necessarily a hero, there may
or may not be any sexual contact between them, but what has to occur is a
growth in the character of the heroine.
If her life has been terrible, she learns throughout the story how to
become stronger on her own and defeat her own demons. If she is struck down in the beginning of the
story, she rises above it through her own grit and intelligence by the
end. It is her personal triumph, not her
rescue from the man who ripped her bodice by the hero, which prevails and makes
her story not exactly a romance.
Romance stories have been around for centuries. Any book that has a man and a woman in it has
the potential to be a romance or at least a story with strong romantic
elements. While 91% of all romance
readers are women, 9% are men according to RWA. Personally, I think that men
read books with romance in them and don’t toss them aside because of it, they
just prefer to think that the violence and intrigue in what they claim to
prefer overshadows the sweaty sex scenes the protagonist of their man-stories
Whatever. Mickey Spillane
managed to get his hero satisfied as did Ian Fleming. The punches and cigarettes and bourbon are
substituted for the lingering looks, the peril and the stirring kisses of a
romance, but if there is a man and a woman involved, well, it’s not a horse of
a different color.
We're having a conference.
If you write fiction of any kind, you are welcome to attend. Details can be found here.
BTW, there is a reader's track...if you are just a reader, you can sign on and get to meet some of your favorite authors.
The Book Fair on Saturday afternoon is free and open to everyone.
I hate snow. Yeah, it looks nice when it is marshmallowy and pristine, coating the outside world with purity and light.
And then you're stuck in your house until the plows open up the street and somebody (not you) shovels the 100 foot long driveway so you can possibly get to the mailbox and then, you gotta get all that snow off your car.
I am short. Not tiny, but actually average for an American woman. However, I have a high vehicle, an SUV I think, or a crossover thing, that is way taller than I am. In order to clean off the roof, I'd have to stand in the open door and somehow slide the snow into the driveway which has to be cleared first.
Yes, this is a rant.
Yes, I do truly hate snow.
I even hate the anticipation of snowfall in which, though imprecise, usually sends me into paroxysms of dread.
Whether it turns out to be the "mere dusting" or the "one to three inches" or the "six to twelve" somebody just predicted, I don't want any part of it.
Yes, we made the obligatory trip to the packed grocery story in order to stock up on essentials. We have bread and milk and eggs and even bread mix for the machine (only I need yeast) and stuff to eat.
But Elyse has to get to work tomorrow. She travels the parkway and an interstate most of the way, and they will be well plowed, but still, she has to travel and not be safe here with us. So I will worry.
She might be able to stay with someone down there, so I will insist she take an emergency kit when she leaves. They might even call off work, though I doubt it.
Here's the thing about snow. I can tolerate it if somebody else has to be bothered with plowing and shoveling and fetching and carrying and as long as our electricity stays on. Oh, wait!
We have a generator!!!!!