Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Anyone Need Fluffing?

I have been reading some chats this week and there have been a few that have been talking about tropes, specifically the idea that love is all you need to overcome any obstacle.
One of the reasons I chose to write romance is because I love a lot of the tropes that exist in the genre. I love the idea that love conquers all. In my opinion, it is the basic foundation of the romance genre. It's also one of the largest reasons I read (and got started in writing) romance. Romance is fantasy; it's escapist and I like it that way.
There have been some grumblings about writers using the classic (or maybe cliché) "love conquers all" trope as an easy way out -- a fallback because they are not talented or creative enough to write something different -- and that the characters and plot lines in these stories are one dimensional and trite. Yup, some are. I've read quite a few that left me feeling annoyed and shortchanged.
But have also been lots (and I do mean a lot) of stories that are perfectly fluffy and feel-good and charming just the way they are. Is it possible to fall madly in love with someone after three days? Three minutes in some cases? Maybe, maybe not, but it's awfully fun to imagine.

One of my favourite m/m romance books ever is Bareback by Chris Owen. That story fucked me up. I started it somewhere around eleven and by midnight I was so upset that I felt like I was going to throw up. It was that good. I had to stay up to finish the rest of the book because there was no way I was sleeping otherwise. Amazing book. If you haven't read it, go buy it now. It is such a good book (I just can't emphasize that enough), but so emotionally taxing at the same time. I try to read at least four books a week, and if they were all like that I might end up throwing myself off a bridge somewhere. There has to be a balance in the book world, just enough "brain popcorn" (as my friend Lex calls it) to feed the soul. I'm not asking for literary masterpieces inside every book I read. God knows the book I've written isn't a literary masterpiece, but I believe there is value to it. It's hopelessly written for hopeless romantics (the club to which I received my membership at the tender age of twelve) and I think it has merit.
American History X was a great movie. It carries an important message and I believe that as disturbing as it is, people should see it. Would I want to watch it over and over? No. You know what movie I would like to watch over and over? The Little Mermaid. Yes, it's a kid's movie. Yes, it's animated. (By the way, I fucking LOVE Disney). But it's a good story, and Love Conquers All.  (Besides, Ariel is a redhead, and us redheads have to stick together).
The chats that I was reading reminded me a bit of conversations I had in middle school about music. Everyone was trying to fit in; no one wanted to be the uncool kid that listened to the crap music, so most people I knew pretended to like some indie band no one had heard of that only played dissonant chords and performed at skeezy hole-in-the-wall clubs. There is nothing wrong with liking bands like that, if that's what you truly enjoy listening to. I'm betting though, that a lot of those people went home and listened to Backstreet Boys on repeat when no one else was around.
I suppose the moral of my long-winded rant is that there is value in fluff. There is nothing wrong with liking boy bands or believing in love at first sight or happily ever after. If there is, maybe I should quit writing now

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

It has been two weeks since I've posted anything. They have been two frickin' hectic weeks. I started back to school and my husband turned 30. To celebrate, I decided to throw him an 80s themed party. He was born in 1982, so I thought it would be fitting. It was a costume party. The men seemed to head to value village and come out with a plethora of graphic t-shirts fitting for the decade. The women, however, all bought their outfits. New. At the mall. I bought an off-the-shoulder hot pink sweater, hot pink fishnet stockings, black legwarmers, hot pink lightning bold dangly earrings and hot pink leopard print glasses with a bow. I looked like a neon slut, but it was a blast.

I went way overboard with the food, but it means we'll be in leftovers for a week, and the leftovers will be damn good because there was melted cheese in almost everything...and cheese makes everything good. There was drunken twister in the basement, Michael Jackson to dance to, Nerds and Fundip, and I made PacMan cupcakes. How often do you get to make PacMan cupcakes? Everyone got neon slot glasses and jelly bracelets.

The husband hooked up his Atari 2600 to the 80" plasma TV (it was so terrible, but oh so good). Everyone had fun. I had fun planning it. At one point one of the guests said, "have you decided what you want to be when you grow up yet? Because you should be an event planner." which is the same thing my wedding photographer said when he saw my wedding. What can I say? I love planning parties. If I could plan events and write smutty romance all day, I would be one happy girl.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Free Dreamspinner Press Books

Dreamspinner Press is giving away books like crazy this month!
They are partnered up with Top 2 Bottom Reviews and starting yesterday they are doing reviews of 25 books, complete with 25 giveaways! All you have to do is comment on the review and you're entered to win. Visit them here.

Secondly, to help out those that lost power during hurricane Sandy, Dreamspinner is redoing the last four days of their Tweetaway. If you haven't already, make sure you follow DSP on Twitter to take part.
Click here for Dreamspinner's Twitter page, or follow them @Dreamspinners.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Start of a Revolution

What a wonderful week for America and the rest of the world that stood watching, waiting for history to be made, and history certainly was made. Four states voted and either approved changes for or overturned bans on same-sex marriage.

This is a long overdue victory for gay people across the country, as hopefully these four will just be the start of a nationwide show of support for love, and ultimately that's what this is all about. The freedom to love the person you choose; a freedom which should be universal for everyone, but unfortunately we are still living in a society where some people are holding onto prejudice and bigotry. Maybe though, one day soon the number of people who believe in love will outnumber the people that are holding onto hate.

Author Rick R. Reed and his partner, Bruce, announced their engagement the day after the vote was finalized. They live in Washington and are now able to be legally married. They have been married in almost every sense for the last ten years, but now their home state will recognize their relationship. It is such an exciting time for so many couples. Read the story in Rick's words at Rick R. Reed's Blog.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

When Arrogance Attacks

I was on the NaNo chat today, just hanging out and I saw an exchange between three writers that I just couldn't believe. It went something like this.

Newbie Writer: How is everyone doing so far with their stories?
Writer 1: I'm doing so great. How are you doing?
Newbie Writer: Pretty well. I'm right on schedule with my word count.
Writer 1: Have you started your query?
Newbie Writer: What's a query? I'm new. :)

Looooooooooooooooooooong pause where Writer 1 ignores the question.

Writer 2: *Posts link to Wikipedia article*
Writer 1: I have an agent though, so I don't have to worry about that.
Writer 2: I went to (inserts acronym for conference no one has heard of in town most people don't know), and when I left I had requests to submit three queries.
Newbie Writer: Congratulations. That sounds awesome.
Writer 1: Newbie, I hope your story is new and original though, or it's never going to be accepted.
Writer 2: Yeah. Well known authors can publish boring and unoriginal stories, but new writers can't.
Newbie Writer: Oh, thanks. This is my first time trying to write something, so later on I hope I'll be able to pick your brains, because I have a lot to learn.

I read this, dumbfounded by the pure awesomeness of such sage advice, and I thought to myself, "I wonder who these super famous authors are who are clearly using aliases to hide their epic famousness?" So I Googled, and discovered the biographies for the writers who have so much knowledge and experience that they feel the need to pass it on to poor newbie writers who know nothing.

Writer 1: One book published in 2002 and another out ten years later through a publisher of Canadian lit that puts out 10-12 books per year.
Writer 2: None. Nothing. Nada. The guru of book publications has not had anything published.

I wanted to reach in through my computer and smash their heads together. Maybe I jumped to conclusions, but the whole conversation sounded condescending and patronizing. The Newbie Writer was excited to be interacting with other writers from her area, and was being friendly. These other two girls were just trying to prove how important they are. I guess they didn't check Newbie Writer's word count, because she's written more than both of them combined.

I'm new to the writing scene too, but the impression I have gotten from most other authors is that as writers, we need to stick together and support one another. Writing is so personal, and so subjective. Constructive criticism is one thing (when asked for), trying to belittle or make another person feel stupid is quite another. Ugh! I find things like this so infuriating.

Yes, as someone who has published before, Writer 1 may have some insight to share with someone who is just starting out. It's always nice to know someone with experience who can show you the ropes before you go through it yourself, but writing two novels does not make her an expert, and being arrogant and rude isn't going to do anything for either writer personally or professionally.

/end rant.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

For the Love of the Prostate


I love the prostate about as much as someone without one could. Movember is a great idea and raises awareness (and much needed funds) to fight prostate cancer.
However, I think November 3rd to 10thish is pretty much the least sexy week of the year. I'm not anti-facial hair. A guy with that delicious rough and tumble stubble? Yes please. A guy with a skeevy scraggly lip cover? Not so much.
It's great to see how many guys are participating this year. It's a great cause, and a creative way to bring attention to the prostate, because honestly, without the prostate, reading m/m romance wouldn't be nearly as much fun.
For a hilarious blog post and even funnier comments about euphemisms for the prostate, check out the (somewhat ancient) article from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. My personal favourite? Butt Nut.

My sister sent this to me this morning. They've thought of everything now.

If you're a chick, and you want to participate, you can do so by clicking here and signing up.

Happy Mo/Muffvember!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Day 1 of NaNoWriMo

Picture So the plan was to get up at 4:30 am when the husband did and get started right away...and then I fell back asleep and work up three hours later. Whatever. A girl needs her sleep if she wants to be awake enough to write proper smexy books.

And so without further ado, meet Declan Grant (or at least what  the Declan Grant that lives inside my head would look like if he were real), the newest deputy of Hope Cove, Maine. He's the protagonist in the story I'm writing for NaNo.

He is so fucking yummy, isn't he? Almost makes me want to get arrested to end up in cuffs with a guy like this.

Addendum 1: There are still a few hours left of the day for writing. Generally anything I write after 9:00 is utter shit, but the point of NaNoWriMo is quantity, not quality, so bring on the Write or Die!
I've managed to write almost 6,000 words today, which proves that everything is easier when you're doing it
for bragging rights.