Archives for April 2011

A Working Writer

I work. I write. I work at working. I work at writing. Sometimes I try to work on both of them in the same day.

I’ve worked at working a long time. I’ve worked at writing even longer. And even though I’m not a best-selling author (yet), I have a few thoughts about trying to fit the two of them together. Not that I actually DO these things all the time, mind you. But at least I’m starting to recognize the important issues, at least for my own life.

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Cats of Hogwarts

J. K. Rowling has four houses in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Harry Potter, for those of you who have been living under a rock).

I have four cats.

Ahhhh… I see you know where I am going with this. And you would be right! It recently occurred to me that each of my four cats represents a house at Hogwarts. Allow me to elaborate:

Hufflepuff

Real name: Oliver Wendall Holmes Horvath.
Oh, how can you look at my boy Oliver and not think “Hufflepuff”. He’s a homebody, he loves the kitchen, and he’s very fuzzy. Perfect!

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What Romance Is, and What It Is Not


 
As I mentioned in an earlier post, a few months ago I had a run-in with a rather rude man at a Barnes and Noble. As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the romance genre, about what it is and what it isn’t. What follows are my humble opinions on this subject, for what they are worth.
 
What Romance Is
 
In a romance, whether novel or subplot, two people come together and form an intimate bond. At the end of their story arc, no matter how long it takes to get there, they have remade their world. They are now a unit beyond the sum of their parts. If their world is not remade, the story is not, in my opinion, a romance.  “Happily ever after” is required. Under this definition, a book like Wuthering Heights is not a romance. A book like Pride and Prejudice, however, is.
 
What Romance Isn’t
 
In today’s market, Wuthering Heights would probably be considered “chick lit”. I really hate that term, because basically “chick-lit” is just old-fashioned literature written by and about women. Romance can certainly be a part of a “chick-lit” novel, like Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner. But whereas the point of a romance novel is two people learning to become one whole, the point of “chick-lit” tends to be self-discovery.
 
Romance heroines grow and change and go on journeys of self-discovery too, of course they do. A romance novel would be pretty boring if the hero and heroine didn’t change! It’s just that the main point of a romance novel is the discovery of intimacy with the “other”, and that is not the main point of a “chick-lit” novel.
 
Because romance deals with intimacy, and intimacy between two adults is often expressed in sex, romance novels contain sex.  The sex is of varying degrees of intensity, depending on author and subgenre. But regardless of erotic content,  a romance novel is NOT erotica or pornography.
 
In erotica, the individual’s journey of self-discovery takes the form of an exploration of sexuality. The other people involved in those sexual exploits are, so to speak, tools for the journey. It may be that there will be an emotional bond with one or more of them, but that isn’t the point of the story. The point of the story is the sexual exploration.
 
And porn? Well, what can I say. In pornography both the viewer and the viewed are objects. Ain’t no journey happening there except the journey towards…*cough*… well. Let’s just say that character development is not a priority one way or another.  True intimacy is not involved.
 
So, there you go. My opinion of what romance is – and what it isn’t.

I’m glad I have a blog now so I can share these deep thoughts with you.  I’m sure you are glad as well. 🙂
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A Post About The Book

  

 

As of the writing of this post, what I believe are the final changes for my book, HOLD ME, have been returned to my editor.  In celebration, I thought I’d share some relatively amusing behind-the-scenes factoids about HOLD ME in case anyone was even remotely interested. So, here we go:

  • The heroine’s name is Katie. She was named after Kate Jackson, of Scarecrow and Mrs. King fame.  Katie doesn’t look anything like Katie Jackson – I just liked the show.
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Everything I Know About WordPress

As you may, or may not, know, I built this blog using WordPress.  This enterprise has been a very character-building experience and has enlightened me in ways I am only beginning to comprehend.  I would now like to sum up everything I’ve learned about Wordpress in a single blog post.

You may have noticed that this is not an exceptionally long post.

Okay, first of all there are two WordPresses – WordPress.com and WordPress.org.  WordPress.com is a free, hosted site. WordPress.org is free software, but you have to provide your own hosting and domain name.  In other words, WordPress.com uses WordPress software, but you can use the WordPress software yourself at WordPress.org.  Got that?

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Why Romance?

A few months ago, I was in my local Barnes and Noble. As I stood, innocently browsing the stacks in the (rather pitiful) Romance section, a man came from the in-store Starbucks, wife/girlfriend in tow. He walked up to me, laughed, and said, sneering, “Romance? Why Romance?”

I promise you that this actually happened. It was a moment.

The encounter, although undoubtedly rude, did raise a couple of questions in my mind and I’ve been mulling them over since then. Here they are in a nutshell:

  1. Why romance? Specifically for me, but also what is so appealing about the romance genre? What makes it the best selling genre out there?
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