Monday, February 19, 2018

You're Not Reinventing the Romance Wheel

Every few years — hell, maybe it's every few months — someone tries to set themselves up as the arbiter of what romance novels have validity and deserve to be representative of the genre. Whether it's declaring historical romance dead and hailing the rise of New Adult, suggesting the New York Times review these authors and not those books for a "smarter" presentation of romance, penning pieces about the "new" heroines of "new" feminist romances, or dismissing Harlequin as outmoded and out of touch compared to independent authors...someone is always trying to reinvent the wheel to their specifications. It would be kind of funny if it weren't so divisive. Given how much gatekeeping we already have to deal with from publishers, do we really need the extra elitism and attempts at taste-making?

Romance has been blazing trails since the 1970s. We could even go all the way back to Heyer and Austen. I'm not going to go over the ground that many academics and romance historians have already tread. I'm just pointing out that none of this is new. The writing and reading of romance has always, always, been a feminist act for its time. And trends within the genre have always been cyclical. Alpha heroes and strong women who push back against them didn't just crop up five years ago. Neither did heroines in their late teens/early 20s. Neither did super-filthy, boundary-pushing love scenes. (Bertrice Small's Wild Jasmine had an f/m/f scene with anal sex. In 1992.) You're not bringing sexy back, Justin. It never left.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Five Things About SEARED

My latest sexy contemporary romance, Seared, drops on December 12!

Here are five quick things about this soapy send-up!

1. I released Seared briefly in a much shorter and serial format in late 2015. It was called Unlock Me at the time — and I used a different pen name! I called myself Mariah Kendall Quinn, after three of my favorite soap opera women: The Young and the Restless' Mariah, All My Children's Kendall, and The Bold and the Beautiful's Quinn. I ended up pulling the installments off Amazon and scrapping Mariah, because I honestly wasn't prepared to be self-publishing at that point. You live and you learn! I eventually reworked the story a little, made it longer, and even submitted it to traditional publishers via my wonderful agent. When that particular avenue didn't pan out, I knew I wanted to try self-publishing again — and this time I was ready for it!

2. Lachlan Christie, the DomChefStepbrother hero of Seared, is a pretty blatant homage to Gordon Ramsay. I think the video below sums up why.

Monday, October 16, 2017

There Are Things That Never Fade

This is a revised re-post of a blog entry originally written in June 2016.

Trigger warnings for sexual assault.