Dear Author: What I want in a Romance Novel

Dear Author: What I want in a romance novel

I was going to title this post “What romance readers want” but everyone wants something different, so I can only speak for myself.

This is what I personally want in a romance novel………

Hot Alpha Male Hero: I want my leading man to be someone who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty.  I don’t want a billionaire who runs a fortune 500 company.  I like my heroes to be rough around the edges.  They are strong men with an air of authority who are not to be pushed around.  They walk in to a room and all eyes are on them.  They know how a woman wants to be treated.  They also know that ladies will not tolerate infidelity, so they remain faithful to their main heroine.  This brings us to…

Relatable Feisty Heroine who is not a pushover: I want a sassy heroine who I can relate to.  She should be flawed in some way.  I don’t want to read about a super model with black-belt ninja skills who can save the world in three seconds flat.  Who can relate to that?  I want a real woman with real thoughts and actions.  She has her own mind and doesn’t bend to the will of the alpha hero.  She should make good decisions (Don’t go into the dark haunted house at night by yourself….does that ever end well?) and use her head.

Awesome Secondary Characters: Make sure the other characters in the book have their own personalities and act as more than stereotypical place fillers for the main characters to talk to.

Detailed Back Stories: I want to know why the people act the way they act.  Where have they been?  What happened in their past to explain the way they behave in the present?  Tell me about their families, their friends, funny stories about their life.  Which leads us to…

Humor: If you can make me laugh out loud, then you’ve made a fan for life.  I escape to a book to forget the bad day at work or the boredom of everyday life.   Entertain me and make me smile.

Realistic Sex Scenes: Please don’t use words that never come up in real conversations.  Labia?  Pulsating member?  I don’t believe I’ve ever used those before.  If you can’t describe something that I might use one day, then I’m probably going to skim over these parts.

Length: Not the main guy’s length, you depraved miscreants!  I mean the length of the story.  I want a BOOK, not a novella.  I want to meet the characters, find out their back stories, and have a chance to get to know them.  I can’t do that in 60 pages.

HEA: I need a Happily Ever After.  As I said above, I read as an escape.  I want a happy ending where two people ride off into the sunset together.  I don’t want to invest my time and then have the main characters break-up.  Real life has enough tragedy without bringing more into my fantasy world.

Here is what I personally do NOT want…….

Insta-love: It doesn’t make sense when two people meet and fall in love in thirty seconds.  Build up some tension.  I need “will they or won’t they?” back and forth moments.  Unless the people are werewolves who can sniff out a mate, I’m not going to believe in the whole love-at-first-sight business.  True love takes time to build.

Love Triangles: Really?  The person in the love triangle has to decide which one is right for them?  It’s a big enough challenge to find one decent person that you actually want to spend time with….and you’re telling me that you found TWO at ONCE who are equally appealing?  Not buying that.

Cheating: Don’t do it.  In real life it would be a deal-breaker.  In fake fiction, it should be also.

Secret Millionaires: How many guys do you know in real life who are secretly filthy rich beyond all your wildest dreams?  That’s what I thought.  Money is not the key to everlasting happiness.  Look at all the lottery winners whose lives were ruined.  I rest my case.

Romeo & Juliet Miscommunications: So the girl is pregnant but she runs away because she doesn’t want to disgrace the baby daddy’s prominent family….but what she doesn’t know is that he loves her and desperately wants the baby and wastes YEARS looking for them….years that they could have spent together happily.  Or the man has a criminal past he’s trying to hide from the woman, but his ex comes to town and blackmails him….so he takes off and runs instead of telling his lady the truth and it breaks her heart.  Tell the truth, book people!  Talk to each other!  Most problems could be solved with better communication.

There you have it folks….those are my rants and raves about romance novels and everything that goes with them. Agree?  Disagree?  Something you’d like to add?  Feel free to comment and give me your opinion.  Thanks for reading!

Easiest Dessert Recipe that you’ll LOVE

Chocolate Éclair Torte

This is a recipe that was given to me by my mother-in-law.  If you’ve read my book, “Dottie” is modeled after her.  She actually did use the phrase “Shitbird” and we all loved her for it.

This recipe makes enough for a 9×13 pan and it’s always requested at all my family gatherings.  It’s extremely easy to make and requires no baking.

Ingredients:

1 box of graham crackers

2 (3 1/2 ounce) packages vanilla instant pudding

3 12 cups milk

8 ounces whipped topping

1 tub of chocolate frosting

Directions:

  1. Grease the bottom of a of 9×13 pan and line the bottom with the graham crackers.
  2. Mix pudding and milk.
  3. Fold in whipped topping.
  4. Pour a layer of pudding mixture over crackers.
  5. Add another layer of crackers, then pudding mix again then final layer of crackers.
  6. Spread chocolate frosting over top.  Works best if you microwave it first for 15 seconds so it can just pour over the layer of graham crackers.
  7. Chill in refrigerator overnight.

Enjoy!

For all writers: How to remain positive

You’re a writer?  You took the time to pour your heart and soul onto the paper and wanted to share your words with the world?  Congratulations on taking the first step and publishing your book.  What comes next?  Let me tell you….

After you publish your first book, you’re going to want to contact people to give you book reviews.  This is a time-consuming task to find people who review books in your genre and are willing to review your book.  It involves a lot of research and emailing.  This will take time away from writing your next book, but you have to be patient.  Marketing and promotion are necessary.  No one can read your book if they don’t know it exists.

Once you have people who agree to check out your book, you have to sit with bated breath and hope they actually like it.  What?  People might not actually adore the precious book that you took the time to so lovingly offer up to the world?  No, they might not.  Actually some of them won’t like it at all.  Most of them will offer constructive criticism and tell you why they didn’t like it.   Please take their advice.  Maybe you have a few editing issues to fix or some plot holes that don’t make sense.  Fix them!  The people who are offering you advice are reviewers that have reviewed countless other books.  They know what they’re talking about.  They took the time to read your book, so you should take the time to listen to their suggestions.

On occasion you’ll get a bad review with no explanation as to why the person didn’t like your book.  It’ll bother  you more than you’d like to admit.  But you really shouldn’t wallow in a cesspool of self pity.  That is not constructive and it will get you NOWHERE.  It will be taking time away from important things.  Like watching TV shows, giving belly rubs to your dog, and most importantly, WRITING YOUR NEXT BOOK.

So how to handle the criticism then?  Take a deep breath.  Take another one.  Remind yourself that this person who gave you the bad review is not the only person on Earth with an opinion.  There are several other people out there that probably really like your book.  You like your book, otherwise you wouldn’t have wasted all the time writing it.  Your dog likes your book.  Ok…dogs can’t read, but they give unconditional love.   So I’m sure that your dog would like your book because it came from YOU, the one who doles out belly rubs and cookies.

My suggestion is to take every single good review that you get, copy it, and paste it to a word document.  Every time that something gets you down, open the “happy document of positive reviews” and remind yourself that you’re not a total failure at life.  These are positive reviews.  From complete strangers.  Who took the time out of their busy lives to read YOUR book and actually enjoy it.

So next time you get a case of writer’s block, you’re feeling down about the writing process, or you get frustrated, just open your “happy document of positive reviews” and remember that you do have a talent after all.  Keep writing!

That’s what I’ll be doing!

Best home-made cleaner ever!

Want to make an awesome household cleaner with items that you probably have around the house?  No problem, I’ve got you covered.

If you have pesky soap scum built up in your shower, or just need to clean a problem area that doesn’t seem to want to shine, try this trick.

Take some blue Dawn dish soap and some vinegar.  You’re going to combine them in equal parts, so figure out how big of an area you’re going to need to clean and measure accordingly.

Microwave the vinegar by itself.  It should be pretty hot.  Be careful NOT to sniff the vinegar after it comes out of the microwave, because it’s going to stink.  I know that vinegar smells absolutely disgusting, but for some reason I feel the need to smell it every single time.  It’s a compulsion, I know.  I can’t help it.  Take it from me: Don’t smell the vinegar.

You’re going to want to get a spray bottle to eventually combine the Dawn and the vinegar.  The mixture is going to be fizzy once you combine it, so BE PREPARED.  My microwave is the in the kitchen (as microwaves usually are) and my bathtub is in the bathroom (as bathtubs usually are), but for some reason I combine the ingredients while still in the kitchen.  I then run screaming all the way to the bathroom while the contents of the spray bottle fizzes and leaks hot smelly vinegar all over my hand.

Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it — George Santayana

I have yet to follow my own instructions and do it properly.  So please be careful when combining the ingredients.

Once you safely combine the ingredients, spray them on the dirty area that you want cleaned.  Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe it off.

Viola!  Shiny bathtub.

Good luck and good cleaning!

Free Sites for Indie Authors to Post their Books 2016

Hello.  If you’re a new Indie Author and you’re wondering, “How can I put my book out there without having to pay for advertising?” then I have some suggestions for you.

Here is a list of sites that are absolutely free places to post your book and author information.  They certainly won’t guarantee any sales, but it never hurts to get exposure.  The more places you advertise, someone is bound to find you.  Also…it’s pretty nice to google yourself and see a lot of stuff come up!

Awesome Gang – Where awesome readers meet awesome writers

Book Goodies – Submit an author interview

E-Book Deals – Free Ebook Promotion for writers

Book Daily – Connecting authors and readers

Pretty Hot – For Romance Writers

Goodreads – Excellent site to connect with readers and reviewers

I’m sure there are many more sites you can advertise on, but this is just a short list of free places to get started.  Good luck and I hope you’re book becomes a success!

Best Places to Find Free Magazine Subscriptions

Are you looking for completely free magazine subscriptions?  These are three of the best places to find them.  I’ve received countless magazine subscriptions over the years and haven’t had to pay a single penny.  Check them out!

Free Stuff Times   – This is by far the BEST free stuff website on the internet.  I’ve received a ton of samples and magazine subscriptions.  It’s updated several times daily.

Recyclebank  –  This is an environmentally friendly website that teaches you all about recycling.  They have quizzes and activities and you earn points.  You can redeem the points for a wide variety of magazines.

Rewards Survey  – This site also requires you to take a survey to get magazine subscriptions.  There aren’t a wide variety, but it changes regularly.

There you have it.  If you like magazines, then check out these sites!

Thanks for reading!