Sunday, February 24, 2013

Unpublished fight scene, wanna read it?

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 floor.    

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 hip.

“Hey!  Jesus, watch out!”

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.         

“Stop, I said!”

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

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Yes, this could be a blog about romance writing

Ain’t Love 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 sales handily.
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 formats.

Why is this?
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 HEAs. 

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 include.
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.

It’s a romance.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Create Something Magical Conference

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.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Snowstorm on the way

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!!!!!