In defense of the romance genre

I recently read a thread where various authors were talking about the romance genre. To make a long story short, it was not in a favorable light. Most of them claimed it was too formulaic and they couldn’t write or be creative under those restrictions, other were less generous, stating that the romance formula doesn't allow for original stories and that romance writers use the same skeleton over and over and that’s why we produce so many books: Writing by numbers.

I’m going to skip past the obvious replies to those statements (but feel free) and just say, Give me a break! But maybe not for the reasons you assume. It's my opinion that, in essence, all writing is formulaic.

Once you step beyond writing for fun, writing for you, and begin writing for publication, every word you write is confined by some kind of restriction or guideline.

Think about it, you have a beautiful one page synopsis and another five page synopsis crafted with loving hands, but the agent wants a three page synopsis. What do you do? You write the three pages. The publisher wants a one line tag. You write the one line tag. A three line blurb? Coming right up.

Good guys must be redeemable; there must be a crisis (at least one) and a crisis resolution. Your characters must grow in some way. And so on. Why these rules? Because that’s what sells books.

And folks, this is a business.

Before starting any business, you determine your market. Who will buy this product? Who are the experts in the field? Where does your product fit in the scheme of things? Then you set about creating the best product you can.

Is it any different in the writing industry?

There are requirements and guidelines to writing, as a job, just like there are requirements in any occupation. You’re no longer simply writing for you, you’re writing for the reader, you’re writing per editor’s instructions, you’re writing per publisher’s instructions. Does that mean you’re any less creative? No. I don’t think so. In fact, at times, you have to be more creative, more subtle, characterize in fewer words. And! And bring something new, fresh and unique to the table. In other words: you need to know your business.

This may make a few people out there angry, but those people who don’t care about industry standards, or the industry at all, who write only what they want, the way they want, and scoff at guidelines are called self-published.

That’s not to say everyone who self-published falls within that category, but if you don't want your creativity hampered in any way, if you don't want to follow the guidelines, it's your only option. I’m also not saying that writing isn’t fun or that you can’t step outside of the box. (See the fresh and creative line) But before you can step outside that box, you need to know where the box is. In writing, you don’t break a rule, until you know the rule.

And yes, I get irritated when wannabe experts make broad proclamations about an industry, and a genre, they know very little about.

And there is my rant. I figure I get one every 6 months or so. ; )

Witty Wednesday

Shouldn't this be in the fine print? I think the IRS wrote it, what do you think?

Monday's Pick-me-up and a confession

If you've taken the time to visit my blog lately, you may have noticed I've dropped the ball--repeatedly.

I've always written my blogs about a month ahead, leaving a few blanks for spur of the moment posts or events. That way, I don't have to worry about them. Well, the last few weeks have shown me exactly what happens when I fall behind and am in the habit of not worrying.

Half written posts, unedited posts... oh my

I don't mind dropping the ball occasionally, even if this is a most embarrassing public dropping of the ball. I mean it happens. This is life. I am the sole caregiver and provider for 4 children, with a house, garden and my sanity to maintain. A few dropped balls is just a part of it. I've even been quoted as saying that I just try not to drop the same ball over and over again. Well. Plop. Plop. Plop. The same damn ball.

So you have my apologies and I swear, I'll try to continue to provide you with the witty, informative and enthralling posts which you've come to expect from me.

Is that laughing I hear?

Okay, for you, my friends, colleagues and peers: Your Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up.

And to show you I'm truly sorry, a twofor (sp?).

Banished Scoundrel by Anita Philmar

Banished Scoundrel

Excerpt -

“Have you dropped off your stipend for the game

tomorrow?” She laid her finely, manicured hand on

his arm. The dainty touch sent sparks of awareness

through him, and his cock swelled. “The governor

likes to put all the money in his strongbox for

safekeeping before the party begins.”

Jack reined in his desire and reminded himself

of his primary objective—to transport the lady back

to Ardenia.

However, he liked Sloan’s clever rule. If a man

didn’t contribute the required gold coins to the game,

the governor shouldn’t waste resources entertaining

him. “No, I can’t say that I have. I arrived just a few

moments ago.”

“Then let me show you to the study, and I’ll

fetch you a drink.” She touched his arm again and

stepped into the foyer.

He bowed his head slightly and played the

unfamiliar part of a refined gentleman. “And you


She fluttered her hand over her face and

brushed a wisp of light brown hair from her brow.

“The governor calls me Kitty. It’d probably be best if

you did, too.”

“What an alluring name? It makes me think of a

cat with its lips covered by a luscious coat of cream.”

Jack stared at Kitty’s mouth, and his tongue tingled

at the idea of tasting her rich, flavorful lust.

She giggled and wove her hand through the

crook in his arm. The soft swell of her breast

bumped against his arm. “Oh, you’re naughty, but I

love the alluring image.”

“Then, I hope you’ll let me have a taste later.”

He didn’t crowd her but allowed her to step back.

She led him across the entranceway to a door on the

other side.

Remember she’s a princess.

Blurb: Known scoundrel Jack Avery must earn the queen's forgiveness by rescuing her missing daughter from the human world. His sources reveal the Princess Noelani is being held by a powerful man who likes a good game of chance. So with twenty borrowed pieces of gold Jack enters the high-stakes game. Only the lady he encounters is no princess. This pretty Kitty makes him want to hear her purr.

Under a memory spell, Kitty recalls nothing before the governor bought her from her parents and offered her protection from those he claims would kill her kind. So what if, in order to control her, he forces Kitty to morph then deprives her of sexual release after transformation. But the crafty card player she is assigned to “entertain” reveals himself as a kindred spirit—a shape shifter—and unravels the lie she’s been forced to live.

Together Jack and Kitty risk it all, for the stakes are high and the prize is worth it...freedom, forgiveness, love.

Purchase at the Wild Rose Press

You can discover more about Anita Philmar at her website.

Mating Rituals by Tina Gayle

Today we jump start egg-cerpt week with an awesome excerpt from Mating Ritual by Tina Gayle

Mating Rituals


Staring straight ahead, Marohka Taunton avoided eye contact with every man she passed. Moving along the edge of the dance floor, she wove her way back and forth across the assigned path. Her steps, jerky and clumsy, she hid her natural smooth gait. No man, in his right mind, craved an ungraceful wife. At least, she hoped not.

With the stairs a few steps ahead, she tasted victory and allowed herself a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness."

A masculine voice in front of her chuckled. "It’s not over yet, princess."

Marohka paused to inspect the stranger. The laughter reflected in his warm brown eyes—surprised, the intelligent focus—intrigued, and the dark spark of interest—captivated.
A foreign response slithered through her chest. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach. Her heartbeat rang in her ears. Her hands turned clammy. Awareness of the man claimed her senses.

His face, framed by dark brown hair, showed rough lines of strength and fortitude. A crooked nose, a square jaw, and a chiseled chin marked his unique personality. Added together, the sum indicated the man rarely backed down from a fight. He’d stand up for his beliefs and defeat his opponents. His lopsided grin with a dimple at the corner of his mouth teased her.

A silly feature on such a stern face. The little mark claimed her heart and spoke of a rare sense of humor, a trait absent in most men.

A tingle ran down her spine. Her toes curled. Either as an appealing partner or a worthy adversary, the man presented a dangerous combination. Right then, without question, Marohka decided never to cross paths with him again.

"It is for me," she responded to his comment. She lifted her chin a little higher and repaired the chip in her armor with a sassy comeback. "But you’re welcome to any of the girls behind me. I’m sure they’ll enjoy your charm."

Marohka lifted her skirt and swept up the stairs. The sound of his laughter spoiled her intended snub.

ISBN: 978-1-935348-58-0
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Book Length: Novel
Heat Level: Spicy

Find at

Special Valentines Day Pick-me-up.

I hope your day is full of romance, passion, friendship all all things wonderful!

Food to get you in the Mood

ACKK. Brief interruption

First, to those of you who have already read this. I'm sorry. It was a rough draft, not intended for posting. In my defense, I'm sick... and I had 2 family birthdays this week. And I'm sick. And did I mention I have 5 kids, one of which was in the ER with appendicitis? Okay, sorry, I always get a little whiny when I slip up in front of the world. And I do mean the world. There are people in Germany who read this blog. *waves*.

Anyway, this blog was supposed to post today, but I was supposed to edit it (and the one I deleted) yesterday. I didn't. My apologies.

There is some pretty good stuff here though, so.. carry on. : ) And thanks for your patience.

Real post follows:

Valentine's Day is coming up and so I thought I'd share a little information on food that just might assure you of a very happy Valentine's Day.


Yes, cheese! Start off your rendezvous with a cheese plate and your well on your way to a passion filled night! Cheese if high in zinc, which can boost your body's sex drive. Research has shown that even the smell of cheese can increase the male libido (increasing penile blood flow by 5 percent) Better yet, come up with some creative ways to feed each another.

Pomegranate juice

Has been proven to increase oxytoxin, the feel good hormone, as well as testosterone and estrogen levels, but enough of the technical jargon. Fix a cocktail with pomegranate juice, take turns feeding the juicy pomegranate seed to each other. Be creative.


Love sushi? So does your libido! And of course, presentation is everything. Think Samantha from the Sex and the City movie. What man could reduce dining in?

Yes, I know it's a cliche, that's because it really works! Another great source of zinc, this little critter will add zing to your after dinner entertainment.


I bet you think I'm going to say zinc again, don't you? Nope. Caviar is rich in magnesium and magnesium balances your sex hormone levels, increases your sexual stamina and your skin's sensitivity. Win. Win. Win.


Wine is the ultimate romantic drink, it also boosts the sex drive. Alcohol contains estradiol which has been linked to increased libido in women. Drink responsibly though, too much Alcohol depresses the nervous system and therefor, the sex drive.


Yes, there is a God. A study has recently proven that women who drink coffee have stronger sex drive than women who don't. Um, duh!

So don't skip the after dinner caffeine. Not only will it give you some energy, well, you know.


We all know that chocolate just makes you feel better, a lesser known fact is that Montezuma drank 50 cups of chocolate every day in order keep up with the 600 women in his harem.

600 women. Yup, give your man some chocolate, better yet, share it over coffee. I bet you can think of a way to work off the calories.


Before I even start, I'm editing myself. ; ) Honey contains a substance called boron which helps your body metabolize estrogen and boosts testosterone levels. And let's face it, honey is sticky, wonderful, yummy fun! Drizzle away and enjoy your Valentines Day!

Witty Wednesday

I think I spent an hour on this site! Worth every minute.

Monday's Pick-me-up Be my Valentine

Do I even need to add anything?

4 Valentine's Day Gifts for Men

So... Valentines Day is coming up. This is the day we celebrate love in all it's wonderful forms. For those of you with partners, you're probably wondering what your going to get your man.

Most men, at least all the ones I know, would appreciate something more than flowers, candy or even a night out. So.. here are some ideas that might get your imaginations going.

1. Lingerie. So you won't be wearing it long, it's the thought that counts, and counts and counts. : ) Men are visual creatures and what better way to make you feel sexy.

2. A new toy. This could be within your comfort zone, or maybe right next door. Think chocolate body paint, a sexy game, or something a little more erotic. Most men don't mind their women pushing the envelope just a little.

3. Breakfast or lunch or dinner or hell, skip to dessert in bed. What could be more sensual than feeding one another? Have fun with it.

4. A surpise quickie. Does he have an office? Does the office have a bathroom with a lock? Be creative, do something unexpected. You'll make it a Valentines day he'll never forget.

What ever you decide, have a wonderful Valentines day.

Interview with Catherine Bybee.

Today I have the wonderful, talented Catherine Bybee in the hot seat. Catherine is celebrating the release of her newest creation, Before the Moon Rises. (I love that title.) And, as I've read her other books, I know I'll love this one too.

So come on in, grab a cup of coffee and get to know Catherine better.

Oh, and after you're done here, come on by Sharon's blog where I'm flirting with Oliver, er, talking to Sharon. : )

And without further ado, here's Catherine:

How would you describe your writing style?

I always keep romance first and foremost in my writing. That may sound redundant since I write romance novels, but with erotic stories it’s easy to get caught up in the hot and steamy bits and forget about the heart. I don’t want my readers to take a leap to make the stories believable. All of my stories are laced with humor. All of my characters have faults.

How did your friends/relatives react when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

My true friends encouraged me to go for it. I don’t think my father truly thought I’d actually do it, but has sense read all my published work, even the erotic stuff, and tells all his friends I’m a writer. My hubby was a little shocked and my kids rolled their eyes.

What kind of goals to you set for yourself when writing? Word count? Page count?

I’ve recently started writing page count goal on a per week basis. About 50 pages. If I have something in edits I give myself a break… but I feel it’s important to keep writing, even if I’m not all that inspires. In the words of Nora Roberts “You can fix a bad page, not a blank one.”

You can't go wrong listening to Queen Nora. And 50 pages? Wow! That's awesome. Do you listen to music while you write?

Sometimes. Some music inspires me while other music distracts me.

Tell us about your newest release.

Before the Moon Rises was my entry to the Got Wolf contest at The Wild Rose Press. I didn’t win the contest but did contract the book shortly after subbing it on it’s own merits. This story is dear to me for two reasons. One, because the heroine is an ER nurse, and low and behold so am I in real life. So this was a fun character to play with and make real. Two, this was my very first werewolf story I’d ever written. I quickly wrote a second book to Before the Moon Rises, Richard’s story, which is under contract and edits with The Wild Rose Press.

Do you write full time or part time?

I’m a full time mom, and full time wife… and per diem writer. I do write every day. My profession in the ER is on hold for now so I have time to write more than the average person. I’m blessed.

What is your favorite part of being a romance writer?

Creating worlds. I love the writing part of being a writer. I’ve met many wonderful people on line and look forward to seeing each and every one of them at some point in my life.

Least favorite?

Waiting. Waiting for edits, publishers, agents and feedback. I don’t even mind the promotional part, but waiting bites! LOL

Where can we find you?

My website or my blog – I’m also on twitter, facebook, myspace and youtube. Google me, you’ll find me. lol

Have you ever had a one-night stand?

Me either! What is the best pick-up line someone has ever tried on you? Did it work?
My husband’s first words to me were… “Have you ever been really hurt by a guy?”
I married him six years later.

That is so sweet. What is your thing to eat?
Pasta – as evidenced by the size of my hips. LOL – They aren’t that bad, but I’d probably be a size smaller if pasta had never been invented.

What is your favorite flower?

I just bought an orchid from China Town in San Francisco. I love them too. If you could have any car, which would it be?
Right now I’m hot over the Cadillac Crossover. I have kids! But once the nest is empty, I want the four seat Mercedes Convertible with all the gadgets.

LOL. Once my nest is empty, I plan to get a convertible too. Maybe we can cruise together. What is a movie you could watch over and over?

Romancing the Stone

Every romancer I know, me included, loves that movie. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

What is your favorite alcoholic drink?

I'm a wine drinker too!

Here is the blurb for Before the Moon Rises.

After a twelve-hour shift in a busy emergency room, Janet O’Brien is beat. Her last patient arrives unconscious and naked. She’s lead to believe he’s a psyche patient off his meds. However, once he awakens, Janet is charmed by his million-dollar smile and agrees to give him a ride home.
Werewolf, Max Ritter notices the sassy nurse when he wakes after a night under the full moon. Unfortunately, his archrival is drawn to Janet as well. In order to keep her out of harm's way, he opts to keep her close. When the chemistry between them sparks, Max discovers a completely new reason to keep Janet safe.

He kept his smile in place despite his state of undress. “Maybe I can explain my, er, situation over eggs benedict.”
She was tempted, even with him dressed in a hospital issue gown open in the back, she was tempted. “I don’t think so.”
“Why not? You said yourself I’m good looking, and I know you’re curious about why I ended up here.”
Janet slid the paperwork she held in front of him and handed him her pen. “Even if I wanted to, I make it a rule not to date my patients.”
“Humm...” He took the paper and signed his name, then pushed it in her direction. “I’m no longer your patient.”
Janet couldn’t stop the giggle that erupted. “Listen...” She picked up the paper and noted his name. “Mr. Ritter. I’m flattered, really I am, but I don’t think this would be a good idea.”
“I suggested breakfast, not marriage.”
“You’re wearing a hospital gown and a smile.”
“I’ll change. We can drop by my house so I can get my wallet.”
Janet narrowed her eyes. “Is this some perverse way to get a free ride home?”
“I’ll pay for gas.” His eyes locked with hers sending a chill up her spine.
“Hey Janet,” a voice called from beyond the closed curtain.
“I’ve got to go. Day shift needs report.” But her feet didn’t move. Instead, she stared at him, knowing somehow she would give in to his request, and if nothing else give him a ride home.
Something she had never done before.
“I’ll meet you outside, by your car.”
On a sigh she said, “Yeah, okay.” Janet turned away. “How do you know what I drive?”
“I don’t, but I’ll figure it out.”

As if that wasn't enough, here is the trailer to further wet your appetite.

Monday's Pick-me-up

I don't know about you, but today, I could use a pick-me-up and what better kind than chocolate covered?

Yup, this pictures gives sweet tooth a whole new meaning.

Well, not only is a Monday, it's the first day of a new month! I've set my goals for the month, some of them a little scarier than others, and taken stock of what I did and didn't get accomplished last month.

Later this month I will be participating in Egg-cerpt with the awesome Anita Philmar and Tina Gayle among others. This is a time, between the 17th and Easter, when we will post excerpts of our books on each other's websites. If you'd like to join in, please drop me a line.

This month, Harlequin will have had my short for 8 months... I'm really hoping to hear a yea or a nay (let's hope for a yea) so I can get the ball rolling.

I'm also planning to sub my novella this month. I should be writing that query now... which is probably why this post is so long. *wink*

This month is also Valentines day and to celebrate, the men I feature on Mondays will be especially yummy (note the chocolate, ladies--or is it that mesmerizing gaze that caught your attention?) I will also be posting a few tid-bits on romance and asking for your hints, tricks or advice. I mean who better to give advice on romance than romance writers, right?

I'd also like to start spotlighting authors on my blog. I've kinda fallen behind on the Coming soon and just released announcements. (sorry) If you'd like me to interview you and showcase your newest release, let me know!

So what are you doing for Valentines Day? Are any of you single like me? (I fully plan to buy myself flowers and candy, thank you very much) If not, do you have special plans with your significant other? What are your goals for the month? Do you feel like we're playing 20 questions?

Okay, I'll stop now. Back to the query.