Nine Essential Elements of Romance Fiction – Catherine LaRoche

NINE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF ROMANCE FICTION

Catherine LaRoche

Catherine LaRoche1

I spend a lot of time thinking about romance fiction.  My mom reads the books, and I picked up the love of the genre from her when I was a teenager.  She always had a tottering pile of novels beside her bed that I’d rummage through for something to borrow.  Now I write historical romances and, in my day job, I’m a college professor of gender studies and cultural studies.  For the past several years, I’ve included romance fiction in my teaching while I’ve been writing an academic book entitled Happily Ever After: The Romance Story in Popular Culture (forthcoming in mid-2015 from Indiana University Press).

My students choose romances from a big box that I bring into class and write responses on them.  We do cut-up exercises with the novels to create alternative storylines.  We write a collaborative online romance with scenes ranging from suspense to spicy erotica.  I’ve set up a romance lending library in my office; my eight-year old son decorated a poster for borrowers to write down comments about the novels they check out.  As I draft my academic book, I workshop chapters with the students in order to get feedback.

I’d like to invite similar feedback from readers here, on some of the book’s conclusions.  I propose that romance novels have nine essential elements.  (I’m playing off Dr. Pamela Regis’s work in her wonderful 2003 text A Natural History of the Romance Novel.)  What do you make of my list so far?  Do you agree or disagree?  Am I missing anything?  All comments welcome!

The nine central claims made by the romance narrative:

  1. It is hard to be alone. We are social animals. Most people need and want love, of some kind. Amid all the possibilities for love as philia (friendship) and agape (spiritual or selfless love), the culture often holds up eros or romantic partner love as an apex of all that love can be and do.
  2. It is a man’s world. Women generally have less power, fewer choices, and suffer from vulnerability and double standards. They often get stuck looking after men or being overlooked by men.
  3. Romance is a religion of love. Romance entails belief in the power of love as a positive orienting force. Love functions as religion, as that which has ultimate meaning in people’s lives.
  4. Romance involves risk. Love doesn’t always work out. Desire can be a source of personal knowledge and power but also of deception and danger. Romance fiction is the safe, imaginative play space to explore the meaning and shape of this landscape.
  5. Romance requires hard work. Baring the true self, making oneself vulnerable to another is hard. Giving up individuality for coupledom requires sacrifice.
  6. Romance facilitates healing. Partner love leads to maturity. Love heals all wounds. Love conquers all.
  7. Romance leads to great sex, especially for women. Women in romance novels are always sexually satisfied. Romance reading can connect women to their sexuality in positive way.
  8. Romance makes you happy. The problematic version of this claim is that you need to be in a romantic relationship for full happiness. Here, romance fiction can be oppressive if it mandates coupledom for everyone.
  9. Romance levels the playing field for women. The heroine always wins. By the end, she is happy, secure, well loved, sexually satisfied, and set up for a fulfilling life. The romance story is a woman-centred fantasy about how to make this man’s world work for her.

Further information about Catherine can be found here: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Catherine-LaRoche/407531852

and here: http://popularromanceproject.org/professors-writing-romance/

Thank you so much for the great blog, Catherine, and we look forward to reading your results.

 

Roving Romaniac – Lucie hits Milton Keynes!

Last weekend it was my turn to go roaming the streets and this particular Romaniac was let loose in Milton Keynes.

Saturday 7th June was the annual agency day for the Kate Nash Literary Agency and, having signed with Sarah Taylor in January, I was invited.  

20140611-200552-72352037.jpg

This was our ‘selfie’ for the Online Romance Festival which was on the same day.

I can’t tell you how excited I was. It has been quite some months since I last attended a writing event so I was looking forward to seeing other writers in the flesh – and knowing that there are still other crazy people Out There.

The day was amazing. Lots of useful and essential tips and information was on offer both from Kate and Sarah, and also fellow writers, too. Ranging from industry trends, to the latest bestsellers, to marketing. Throw in lots of laughter and lovely food and you get a jist of why I had so much fun.

After a day of talking – and sipping back on the free tea, coffee and biscuits – we retired to our rooms to get ready for an evening out. The agency day coincided with Jane Lovering’s publication day. Falling Apart celebrated its birthday in true, author style.

It went out and PARTIED!

For a more in depth look at Falling Apart’s antics – pop over to my blog, here. *WARNING* Not for the faint hearted …

We had a lovely evening out in Milton Keynes. Dinner, cocktails and lots of dancing. Kate and Sarah put together a fantastic day and I am sure I am not alone when I say a massive THANK YOU to them both for a wonderful weekend.

*Kate and Sarah are both accepting submissions at the moment, so If you would like to submit to either of them, please do! You will find submission guidelines here. *

 

Sarah Taylor, me, Kate Nash (Allen)

Sarah Taylor, me, Kate Nash (Allen)

 

And now to look forward to the RNA conference where a number of Romaniacs will be let loose … don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

 

Giselle Green – Finding You

I am incredibly excited to have the very talented, and very lovely, Giselle Green at Romaniac HQ today. Here is what she had to say about her new book.

*****

giselle_green

Thank you so much for coming on the blog today, Giselle, it is an absolute pleasure. We hope you are well?

Yes thank you,  and the pleasure is all mine.

I have read your latest book, Finding You, which was out on March 28th and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It wasn’t at all what I expected it to be. Can you tell everyone a little about it?

This story is a sequel to an earlier book, Little Miracles, which looks at the devastating effect on a couple when their toddler goes missing at the beach. Here, we join the couple soon after they’ve got their child back. I know we’d all assume everything would be now wonderful for them but all is not well. I guess the lesson is, here, that if something terribly traumatic like that happens to you, then simply having the situation put right, or back to how it should have been, can’t mitigate the effects of it happening in the first place.  They find they can’t just pick up the pieces and carry on … there are still some things that need some healing, first.  

You can tell from reading the book that a lot of work has gone into it, are you pleased with the final result? Without giving too much away, what sort of research went into writing, Finding You?

I’m really happy with it, Lucie, though I’ll admit this one stretched me!  Some of the topics covered in the book are closer to home than I usually venture and there were areas where on the first writing I was tempted to skim or gloss over bits of the narrative. As that would have been cheating the reader, I had to go back and re-do them. There was one scene which I re-wrote a total of seven times before I finally got it to work. The main research I needed to do revolved around the possible effects of abduction on a child Hadyn’s age. That was important because his mum and his dad take very differing stances over what might be causing the problems he’s come home with. They’re split on it, and yet they’ve both got valid reasons for thinking the way they do.         

The book deals with very serious and heart wrenching issues. As a mother, I found some parts extremely emotional, did you feel the same writing it? Was it hard to not get too emotionally attached to it?

I’m glad you were able to engage with the story at that level. Actually, getting emotionally attached to the narrative is the only way to go, for me. If I’m not attached in some way I find it almost impossible to write.  The more attached I can become, the easier the writing flows.  And yes, there are some scenes in this book which still make me feel sad every time I read them, but not in a bad way.  

Where did the idea for Finding You come from?

As mentioned above, it’s a sequel to an earlier novel Little Miracles. I wrote it, quite honestly, because so many people emailed me and asked me to do it. At the start, I had no idea which direction the narrative would take once the initial question of whether ‘it was him’ or not had been answered. To write another whole novel, I needed to give the couple some more problems, more conflicts to resolve, and I decided to begin by exploding the premise of the ‘Happy Ever After’ that most people would naturally assume follows on when you’ve had your deepest wish granted.  The couple are reunited, both with each other and with their child, who’s unharmed … or is he? Life goes on, throws up the next challenge and that became the basis for the second book.

Do you have a daily routine that you work by for your writing? Juggling social media, promotion etc?

I prefer to write in the morning, because that’s my best creative time and it’s also the most lovely ‘quiet time’. When it comes to social media and promotion I’m afraid I feel woefully lost and ‘out of it’ most of the time! I don’t understand the half of it. I’m rather proud of myself that I’ve managed to get an author facebook page up and running though – it gives me the opportunity to let people know of anything new going on, in the easiest way.   

You have been both traditionally published, and self-published, do you have a preference?

There are swings and roundabouts. Traditional publishing brings with it a certain comfort, in that once you’ve done your bit as an author, it’s tempting to feel that the rest of the time-consuming things  – editing and checking stuff, marketing and promotion etc, will all be taken care of for you. To some extent, that is true, but not always to the degree that you might imagine. It’s wonderful if you have an editor who’s on the same page as you, guiding you if you need it, too. And of course, there’s also the kudos of being associated with an established publishing house not to mention that if we’re talking physical books, their marketing arm can way exceed what an indie can hope to achieve on their own. The big publishing houses hold fabulous publishing parties too!

On the other side of it, being self-published means I can work to my own time-table. I can write exactly what I want to write without being too ‘typecast’ or hemmed in by what the ‘powers that be’ believe is what readers want to read. It is not always possible to predict what’s going to fire the public’s imagination!  Once the novel is ready to go, I can choose my own cover, set my own price point and keep control over a lot of variables. An indie novel can go out very quickly, for instance, traditional novels take a lot longer lead time before they can go out. More control means more responsibility inevitably, but if you’re conscientious, that’s okay.     

What would you say your favourite part of writing is?

Dare I say it’s writing ‘The End?’ I think finishing a project is always a time for celebration and a great relief because writing a novel is such a huge act of faith. 

You deal with lots of serious issues in your books and I personally think you do it very well. If you could sum up your books/writing style for others, in one – or a couple (I know how hard it is to just do one!) – sentence(s), how would you sell it?

I’d say I write high-impact emotional women’s fiction, usually dealing with a huge moral dilemma. 

A little quick fire:

Hot or cold? Depends if it’s soup or ice cream, I guess.

Left handed or right handed? Right.

Pizza or pasta? Pasta. Yum.

Xfactor or Strictly? Game of Thrones.

Beach or forest? Beach. Mind you, forests can be lovely too.

Computer or pen & paper? Both, these days.

Rain or shine? Shine, but I’m not adverse to a little atmospheric rain!

Great answers, Giselle!

Thank you so much for coming on the blog today. It has been lovely to listen to you talk about the new book, I will be recommending it to all.

finding u

Finding You is out now! Click the picture for more details. And if you grab it today – you’ll get it for just 99p!

Giselle has a website – www.gisellegreen.com 

She is also on Facebook under Giselle Green Author

And on Twitter at @GiselleGgreenUk

 

Publication Day : Closing In by Sue Fortin

 

I’m delighted that my second novel CLOSING IN is published in digital format today by HarperImpulse, with paperback  to be released 31 July 2014.

I wondered if it would feel any less exciting than the first book I had published. I have to say that it’s just as exciting, if not more. I’ve been overwhelmed by the interest and Shaz Goodwin of Fiction Addiction Book Tours has organised a fantastic book tour. My idea of a small tour, kind of, took on a life of its own as more book reviewers expressed an interest – I’m very honoured.

I have the day off from work, so will be celebrating by hanging out on social media for the most part, consuming plenty of tea and cake!

Closing_in

Flight, Fight, Fawn or Freeze?

Helen has had to leave everything she’s ever known behind; her home, her family, even her own name.

Now, returning to the UK as Ellen Newman, she moves to a small coastal village, working as a nanny for Donovan, a criminal psychologist. Attractive, caring and protective, this single father and his sweet daughter are a world away from Ellen’s brutal past. She thinks she’s escaped. She thinks she’s safe.

But something’s wrong.

Strange incidents begin to plague her new family, and their house of calm is about to become one of suspicion and fear. Who can be trusted? Who is the target? Who is closing in?

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Kobo

Google Play

iTunes

 

Thank you, as always, for all your fabulous support.

Sue 1

Sue

x

Closing In : Cover Reveal

Sue Fortin author pic Jan 14I’m delighted to be able to announce that my second novel, Closing In, is to be  published by HarperImpluse, and will be released on 15 May. Initially, in digital format but paperback to follow soon afterwards.

I’ve prepared a book trailer to show you the cover and give  you an idea what Closing In is about.  So, if you have less than a minute to spare, I’d love you to take a look.

 

 

Thank you and have a great day.

Sue

x

Memories and Traditions with Georgia Hill

A very warm welcome to Georgia Hill, author of  ‘Say it with Sequins : The Rumba‘ which is published today through Harper Impulse

image001

Huge thanks to Sue for asking me on here!

My Christmas Stocking: full of memories and traditions and even things to do!

Not surprisingly, given the time of year, I’ve been thinking about Christmas. So this blog post is a sort of Christmas stocking: full of all sorts of different things.

I always think Christmas makes special memories. I know it’s over-hyped and seems to last longer every year but it still works its magic if you let it. I love this time of year, maybe because I’m a late November baby. Some of my most treasured moments have happened during this season.

My father adored Christmas, perhaps because, as a boy, he had a fairly Spartan upbringing; a tangerine and a toy car was the most he could expect from his Christmas stocking. So, for us, he always tried to make it as magical a time as possible. I remember thick snow on the day itself and my aunt and uncle struggling up the steep hill to our house, to visit, my aunt stubbornly insisting on wearing stiletto heels. Leaving out carrots and a glass of sherry – for them to be gone in the morning. The tangible expectation in the air. I also remember Father Christmas managing to squeeze my very first bike down the chimney. The real miracle being how my parents scraped together enough money to buy me one.

Some good friends of the family lived in the middle of a forest and it was a tradition to visit near Christmas and take presents and cards. The house sang with the smell of the pines trees they’d cut down.

I’ve celebrated Christmas away from home too. Once, in the middle of the Atlantic, on a geography field trip and once in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Strange, disorientating times. Christmas and yet somehow not.

When first married, my new husband and I saw Love Actually on Christmas Eve afternoon and came out, feeling all loved-up, to be greeted by a spectacular sunset. The sky was orange and pink and violet and the air cold and fresh. Wonderful.

For some years I taught in primary schools. In mid December we’d all troop off to the carol service in a local minster. It was packed with children and parents, teachers and friends, all singing the old favourites.

Father Christmas has updated his image nowadays – who else tracks his progress across the globe with this?

http://www.noradsanta.org/

and another lovely site for small children is:

http://projectbritain.com/Xmas/calendar/

For me, a real tree is a must. We get ours from a local farm. When I first met ‘Dave’ (as I’ll call him, to spare his blushes), who runs the business, I developed the most enormous crush. Largely due to the fact he was enormous. And gorgeous. With a fetching dimple in his cheek. He even inspired a short story. It’s one reason to buy a real tree every year; I get a once a year treat of seeing ‘Dave’ again!

spaniels

Traditions necessarily change, according to circumstance. A new one for me is to sit down on Boxing Day afternoon, with husband out at a football match, and watch While You Were Sleeping. I have a selection of Christmassy leftovers (why are they always yummier than on the day itself?), light the wood-burner, grab a dog or two to cuddle and settle down. Guaranteed bliss every year.

This year we’re making a new tradition – a doggie walk on the beach on Christmas Day. I’ve tried taking cute pictures with them wearing those felt reindeer antlers. No good, my two just chew them! Spaniels have no respect for tradition.

Afterwards, I’ll be sitting down to watch the Christmas Special of Strictly Come Dancing as usual. With Say it with Sequins: The Rumba being inspired by the show, how could I not?

Whatever you’re doing this year, whoever you’re spending it with, may I wish you a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Love,

Georgia x

new_author_pics_082Georgia Hill writes contemporary romance, written with love.

Say it with Sequins: The Rumba is out with Harper Impulse on 19th December.

Find her at:

www.georgiahill.co.uk

Twitter @georgiawrites and on Facebook.

Stealing Lines

Well, it’s a first for The Romaniacs, or at least, as far as we know, it seems we have a thief with us at HQ today.

[Don't worry girls, I took the precaution of locking all notebooks, WIPs and valuables, such as cake and wine,  safely away beforehand.]

So, in the time honoured tradition, Romy Sommers, Stealer of Lines, over to you …

RomyI have a confession to make.

I’m a kleptomaniac. A word kleptomaniac. If I see or hear words I like, I write them down and (shhh…don’t tell anyone!) sometimes I use what I steal.

TV shows are especially good fodder for my addiction. They are to me what a pair of high-heeled glittery Louboutins are to a shoe fetishist – a temptation impossible to ignore.

My books are littered with stolen words. A phrase here, an image there, a snatch of dialogue – I use them without compunction. And until those sneaky TV writers stop writing such good words, I don’t know that I’ll be able to stop.

My only regret … there was this one conversation from Haven I haven’t yet managed to work into any manuscript – I may have to write an entire story just so I can use it!

So here’s a challenge to anyone who reads my new book The Trouble with Mojitos: if you can spot the image I shop-lifted from Hunter S Thompson’s The Rum Diary, I’ll gift you a copy of my first book, Waking up in Vegas. (Heehee – though that does mean you have to read both books first!)

The Trouble with Mojitos by Romy SommerThe-Trouble-with-mojitos250x382

Turquoise blue waters. Sandy white beaches. Mojitos… Film location scout Kenzie Cole has found herself in paradise. Working in the Caribbean for a week is just what she needs to escape the long line of exes in her closet. Though the last thing she expects is to be picked up at the resort bar by a disgraced former Prince!
Luckily for Kenzie, exile is suiting the man formerly known as Prince Fredrik very well. And it’s not long before his rugged, pirate charm is proving hard to resist.
But Rik’s been spending his time in paradise exorcising demons of his own and he has danger written all over him. If Kenzie was sensible she’d run a mile instead of lose herself to lust – although, they do say sometimes you have to get lost before you can be found….

The Trouble with Mojitos is published by Harper Impulse, a division of Harper Collins, and is available from the following online retailers:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iTunes
All Romance eBooks

About the Author:

I’ve always written stories for myself, but didn’t even think of being an author until I realised that being over thirty and living in a fantasy world was a little odd. Writing those same stories for other people makes it a lot more acceptable!

By day I dress in cargo pants and boots for my not-so-glamorous job of making movies but at night I come home to my two little Princesses, in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I live, and I get to write Happy Ever Afters. Since I believe every girl is a princess, and every princess deserves a happy ending, what could be more perfect?
You can follow Romy on Twitter, Facebook,Goodreads or on her blog.

Excerpt:

“A mojito, please.”

Kenzie sagged against the bar counter, not caring that her order sounded desperate or her body language suggested impatience. She needed alcohol, and she needed it now.

The benefit of an empty bar was that the drink came reassuringly quickly, poured from an ice cold jug ready and waiting, and complete with swizzle stick and paper parasol. She ditched both and tossed the drink back.

“Rough day?” The dreadlocked bar tender leaned on the scarred wooden counter.

“You don’t know the half of it.”

“Want to talk about it?”

“Thanks, but I didn’t come here to talk.” She’d done enough of that all day. Talk, talk, talk, and still nothing to show for it. Now she understood how used car salesmen felt. Used.

It was enough to drive a girl to drink. Or at least to the resort’s beach bar, since hitting the mini-bar in her hotel room was just too sad to contemplate.

She didn’t drink alone. For that matter, she didn’t usually drink. Not these days.

Beyond the thatched cabana, the sky flamed every shade of pink and orange imaginable as the sun set over the white sand and surf. But here inside the bar was dark, shadowy and strangely comforting after a day of white-hot heat.

“She’ll have another.”

She turned to the wryly amused voice, and wished she hadn’t as she spotted the dark figure at the shadowy end of the long bar. Great. The resident barfly, no doubt. As if she needed another reason to hate this resort, this island, and the whole stinking Caribbean.

“I can order my own drinks, thank you.”

The shadowed figure shrugged and turned his attention back to his own drink. “Suit yourself.”

What was it with the men in this place? Didn’t think a woman could order her own drinks, didn’t think a woman could do business, wouldn’t even give her the time of day. She ground her teeth, the effects of the first drink not quite enough to blur the edges of her mood. “I’d like another, please.”

She ignored the deep-throated chuckle down the other end of the bar as the barman removed her glass to re-fill it.

The second drink followed the first a little more slowly, and this time she took a moment to savour it. Now she felt better.

But she was still screwed.

Neil had known it when he sent her out here. He’d known she’d be stone-walled, he knew he’d set her an impossible task, and still he’d sent her. He’d expected her to fail. Perhaps even wanted her to fail.

There were days when her past seemed very far behind her. And then there were days like today, when it seemed she’d never escape the follies of her youth.

“Sod him!”

“That’s the spirit.” The stranger at the other end of the bar slid from his bar stool, out of the shadows and into the yellow lamplight.

In another time and place he might have looked gorgeous, but in low-slung jeans that had seen better days, black long-sleeved tee, with hair in drastic need of a cut, several days’ worth of beard, and darkly glittering eyes, he was devastating.

Pirate devastating. Bad boy devastating.

Kenzie swallowed. Double great.

Fanfare for Sue Fortin and United States of Love

USL HI

This is a terrifically exciting day for our very own Sue Fortin (and consequently for all the rest of the Romaniacs too, as we bask in reflected glory and slap each other on the back a lot. I slapped Laura so hard she fell over earlier…she obviously needs to eat more cake.)

Anyway, Sue’s contemporary romance novel ‘United States of Love‘ is released in digital format by Harper Impulse on this very day, with paperback to follow shortly, so we thought we’d celebrate our lovely Sue’s success by giving you a few thoughts on our favourite subject – love. We hope you’ll add yours too, but for now, crack open the virtual champagne and help yourself to a scone.

Champagne

Celia: Love is:

Lighting the candles even though it’s only soup for tea.

Being told off by your daughters for laughing too much in bed (don’t ask).

A hand to hold in front of the fire when Downton gets serious.

Fire

IMG_4309Laura : Love is:

Being given a daily limit by your mum as to how many times you can speak the name of your new man.

Supplying Minstrels and making coffee to help maintain the writer.

Pretending to be ill in the honeymoon hotel bidet, whilst your newly-wed wife is bent double over the loo, because ‘We’re married now, and we do everything together.’

Sue : Love is :photo (94)

Not having to worry about the state of your legs quite so often during the winter months.

Being able to name all the players in your beloved’s beloved football team, what positions they play and how many goals they’ve scored. Not only that, but you find yourself attempting to discuss the off-side rule with some degree of authority.

Your partner not batting an eyelid when you call him by the name of your fictional hero.

Morning SnugglesCatherine: Love is: Double diaper changes without a nose peg.

Eating Christmas pudding in October because your OH loves it.

Morning snuggles with two babies nestled in between you.

Lucie: Love is: Giving you free reign over the biscuit tin, and not saying ‘diet’s going well then?’, when you are emotionally drained from that last scene you wrote.

Not calling you crazy when you pull the car over just to write down that all important idea that simply cannot wait five minutes until you get home.

Understanding, and accepting, that if you try and talk to me when I am writing, you are more than likely to either be given a one word answer, get a completely random response or, if you’re lucky, be totally ignored. 

Vanessa: Love is: Bringing me a cup of coffee in bed on a Sunday morning and leaving me to sleep even when it’s really your turn for a lie-in.

Never doubting for a second that one day I will get there with my writing…

Making me laugh until I cry.

Jan: Love is: Gamely stomaching your beloved’s first attempt at French onion soup when he’s clearly confused his teaspoons of salt with tablespoons (or rather, ladles!) 

Never complaining when my characters get more attention than you…

Not being able to imagine my world without you in it…

Debbie: Love is: candyqueendesigns

Being in charge of the remote control.

Not having to get out of bed to turn out the light.

Finding the one who makes your heart smile.

Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.

~ Mother Teresa

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.

~ Sophocles

Love is friendship set on fire. ~ unknown

Sue Fortin: author of 'United States of Love'

Sue Fortin: author of ‘United States of Love’

HI logo

Guest Post by Nic Tatano, Men and Sex – what they really think

I recently blogged about whether women could write sex scenes from a male point of view. (Click here for post) It caused a lot of interest and responses, mostly from women, although we did have one man join in the conversation.

Since then, I have been in touch with author Nic Tatano and he is here today, adding some light on the subject. Over to you, Nic …

So, the question was posed as to what men think about during sex. I can only imagine the eye rolls from those of you who may have had a relationship with a man who became molecularly bonded at the sub-atomic level to a reclining chair. (If you’re currently dating one of these human-furniture hybrid slugs, run.) But, as a guy who writes romance, I might be able to offer a little perspective.

Before said perspective, you should know the boundaries. I’ve been married to a wonderful woman for 24 years, and what happens between us will always remain private. But over the years I’ve come to realize there are two types of men: the relationship guys, and the sex guys.

You see, there’s a great dividing line when it comes to “guy talk.” Relationship guys never, ever discuss sexual details about the women they love. A relationship guy understands the sacred bond that goes with commitment and the fact that the woman he loves would not appreciate having her abilities in the bedroom plastered on the verbal equivalent of a bathroom wall.

Sex guys hold nothing back, because they don’t really understand the difference between having sex and making love. To them, the latter doesn’t even exist. (It should be noted that on rare occasions a sex guy can turn into a relationship guy when he gets through puberty and reaches the age of maturity, which is approximately thirty-five.) The sex guys think nothing of sharing the details of their own sexual prowess (which always approaches that of a porn star) and the attributes of the women they are dating (which always approaches that of a porn star.)

From high school locker rooms to college dorms to late night poker games, I’ve heard it all. While this chatter may loosely fall into the “kiss and tell” category, it lacks any romantic elements. Typical comments from sex guys are the following:

Describing a woman: “She has (wildly descriptive adjective) (body parts) better than (name of famous supermodel) and (other body parts) that won’t quit.”

Describing sex with said woman: “I tell ya, this woman could (service provided by prostitute) better than (metaphor possibly involving household appliance.)

Anyway, back to the original question. What are men thinking? Let’s get to the sex guys first:

TOP TEN THINGS THE “SEX GUYS” MIGHT BE THINKING DURING SEX:

1. Damn, her roommate is really hot. I wonder if she’d like to join us?

2. Did I set the DVR for the game?

3. If I close my eyes, I can imagine I’m with Nicole Kidman.

4. I think continental drift moves faster than she does.

5. You know, I always say I wouldn’t throw a woman out for eating crackers in bed, but I never knew getting salt in my crack would be this uncomfortable.

6. What was her name again?

7. I wonder if she has any beer…

8. I’m such a stud.

9. If I close my eyes, I can imagine I’m Henry Cavill.

10. She just called me by her old boyfriend’s name! Eh, whatever. I’m not gonna deal with it now.

As for what the relationship guy is thinking, there’s no answer. He’s simply in love with that special woman, eyes locked, the two becoming one for a few special moments, while the rest of the world does not exist.

But he still remembers to DVR the game.

winggirl

Nic Tatano‘s novel, Wing Girl was released by Harper Impulse.

Great post, Nic – I’m still working out if I feel enlightened or just had my suspicions confirmed!

Sue

:-)

Beverley Eikli and The Reluctant Bride

Lies, spies and Traitors… Choc Lit’s Beverley Eikli talks about the darker side of The Regency in her new book The Reluctant Bride.

Beverley Eikli and her Rhodesian Ridgeback Homer

Beverley Eikli and her Rhodesian Ridgeback Homer

It’s my pleasure to welcome to Romaniac HQ, Choc Lit author, Beverly Eikli, on the launch of The Reluctant Bride.

Thanks so much, Laura, for inviting me here to talk about my Napoleonic espionage romantic suspense The Reluctant Bride.

I must say, it’s had the most colourful history of any of the eight books I’ve written. The first three chapters won the Romance Writers of New Zealand Single Title competition about six years ago, which was before I got my first publishing contract with Robert Hale in 2009. After that it went through multiple drafts, while I wrote other novels and novellas.

I just couldn’t let it go. I kept seeing potential for more ‘layering’.

Initially The Reluctant Bride focussed on my hero’s tortured past. He’d been forced into an impossible situation during the retreat to Corunna, in 1809, four years before I take up my story. Now, conscience-stricken, he seizes an opportunity to atone for the past when he finds my heroine, Emily, is in need of rescuing.

Unfortunately, the lie he tells Emily, the woman he’s loved from afar, in order to spare her pain comes back to haunt him after she becomes his ‘reluctant bride’. She believes he’s taking advantage of her desperate situation to make her his wife and considers her a ‘bargain’.

In the first drafts I’d focused on events between the Retreat to Corunna and the Battle of Waterloo.

But Emily’s past was just as important and I needed to understand the chaotic life into which she’d been born. This meant immersing myself in the extraordinary, almost stupefying events of the French Revolution. I’d studied it on a superficial level but now I had to bury myself in the details in order to understand how a so-called hero one day could be considered a traitor the next, and what passions drove people to behave with a brutality so contrary to basic human principles. I concentrated on the September Massacres of 1792 but I also had to understand the mind-set of both revolutionaries and the masses.

When I entered Choc Lit’s Search for an Australian Star competition I was intrigued by Choc Lit’s focus on the male Point of View. I’d fallen in love with my hero, Angus, after living with him over so many years so I naturally hoped the ‘tasting panel’ would see the layers behind the scarred, taciturn exterior.

And they did.  I’m thrilled that The Reluctant Bride is Choc Lit’s launch title into Australia.

Beverley Eikli Reluctant Bride Cover

It’s the most intricately plotted of all my books – yes, I love a good plot. I love the late Georgian/Regency period and I absolutely adore the challenge of creating characters whose attitudes and behaviour are true to their times.

A passive heroine doesn’t go down well with modern readers, so this is where I get creative with plot, set-up and characterisation. Women had so few legal rights they really were utterly dependant on their closest male relative – and their wits.

In the opening scene of The Reluctant Bride my heroine thinks she has it all. She’s a week short of being free of her Puritanical father who has – surprisingly – sanctioned the match of her heart. By scene two, when Angus gives Emily the bad news, she believes her life will be devoid of joy henceforth. However she doesn’t have time to brood as she’s soon caught up on a roller-coaster ride involving spies, lies, traitors.

One line from a recent review of The Reluctant Bride I liked was that ‘nothing is what it seems’ while another reviewer calls it ‘the darker side of Regency life’.

Thanks again, Laura, for inviting me. I still get a thrill when I see that beautiful cover Choc Lit’s talented Berni Stevens created for me. The whole process of taking the book from competition winning entry to its final form as a September 15th paperback release was huge fun. It was also such a blast to meet six fellow ‘Chocliteers’ at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Kansas City earlier this year. I shared a room at the Crowne Plaza with my editor, Rachel Skinner who was absolutely delightful to work with. The weird thing was that we seemed to be colour coordinated with everything we wore for the six days of conference.

Beverley Eikli Conference

I hope readers enjoy Angus and Emily’s story.

Buy from: Kindle UK, Kindle US, Apple UK, Apple US, Kobo Books Barnes and Noble

Blog: http://beverleyeikli.blogspot.com.au

Website: http://www.beverleyeikli.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beverley.eikli

Twitter: @BeverleyOakley

Bio:

Beverley Eikli is the author of eight historical romances published by Pan Macmillan Momentum, Robert Hale, Ellora’s Cave and Total-e-Bound. Recently she won UK Women’s Fiction publisher Choc-Lit’s Search for an Australian Star competition with her suspenseful, Regency espionage Romance The Reluctant Bride.

She’s been shortlisted twice for a Romance Readers of Australia Award in the Favourite Historical category — in 2011 for  A Little Deception, and in 2012 for her racy Regency Romp, Rake’s Honour, written under her Beverley Oakley pseudonym.

Beverley wrote her first romance when she was seventeen. However, drowning the heroine on the last page was, she discovered, not in the spirit of the genre so her romance-writing career ground to a halt and she became a journalist.

After throwing in her job on South Australia’s metropolitan daily The Advertiser to manage a luxury safari lodge in the Okavango Delta, in Botswana, Beverley discovered a new world of romance and adventure in a thatched cottage in the middle of a mopane forest with the handsome Norwegian bush pilot she met around a camp fire.

Eighteen years later, after exploring the world in the back of Cessna 404s and CASA 212s as an airborne geophysical survey operator during low-level sorties over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland’s ice cap, Beverley is back in Australia teaching in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University, as well as teaching Short Courses for the Centre of Adult Education and Macedon Ranges Further Education.