Thanks for the day off, Wills and Kate

In honor of Easter and the royal wedding, I’m taking this week off. I won’t be online much, but I’ll be back with you next week, once Britain returns to normal.

In the meantime, enjoy the hoopla around Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. And if you’re not a royalist, enjoy the extra day off.

Here’s by far my favorite royal-wedding-inspired video. If the wedding were really like this, I’d probably watch it.

How realistic is the contemporary virgin?

First off, welcome to my new followers! *waves* Just so you know, I’m a romance writer, so sometimes I blog aboout things relevant to all writers and sometimes I focus posts on the romance genre. Please feel free to comment and share even if you’re not a romance reader.

For those old followers (I prefer to think of you as “seasoned”, not old) who don’t know, my last post was Freshly Pressed yesterday, so it was on WordPress.com‘s homepage.  My blog picked up quite a few new followers, and I look forward to getting to know you all better.

Now for today’s post, which is cross-posted at The Season.

When I started reading romance *mumble mumble* years (okay, decades) ago, it was nearly impossible to find a heroine who’d had sex before meeting the hero. While this is completely understandable and realistic in historical romance, it’s always seemed curious to me that contemporary adult women were virgins.

Most of them weren’t just virgins but were about as inexperienced as I was at 14. (That is, not experienced at all).

As a teenager, I enjoyed reading about women who were a decade older but just as inexperienced as me. Considering I went to a religious high school, I knew sex would remain a vicarious experience for many years, and I’d probably end up like those heroines. Watching their long wait pay off with a hot man made me happy not to experiment with fumbling teenage boys.

I was also surrounded by messages from other forms of media telling me it wasn’t normal for teenagers to be virgins. TV, music, films—they all made me feel my friends and I were strange, while romance novels encouraged me that good things come to those who wait.

A couple of decades later, readers tend to complain when an adult heroine is a virgin. It seems unrealistic. Or perhaps it’s offensive to subject heroines to centuries-old double standards that real-life women are finally shattering.

But how realistic are contemporary adult virgins?

Continue reading “How realistic is the contemporary virgin?”

Erections, as written by women

As varied as the romance genre is, there are a couple things most romance novels have in common.

1. They are mostly written and read by women.

2. There is usually some description of arousal, both female and male.

Reading over and over how women describe the sensations men experience has made me wonder whether readers accept some cliches because we think they’re sexy, or whether we just don’t know any better. After all, I’ll never have an erection.

There’s one erection myth perpetuated in romance novels that really annoys me as a reader.

Let me preface this by saying that the romance genre is not about recreating real life exactly as it is. Although I love my novels to be realistic, real life isn’t always sexy and romance novels should be – at least, the ones I want to read will be. So I’m not asking for romance writers to be faithful to reality when writing about arousal – just to think beyond cliches and find a more interesting way to describe our heroes.

So what’s the erection myth that bugs me like no other?

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A birthday weekend fit for a romance novelist

My birthday is tomorrow. I know, it doesn’t give you much time to shop for me. But don’t worry – my husband’s already given me the best gift ever, so you don’t need to get me anything.

Almost every year since we’ve been together, my husband has taken me away for my birthday weekend. Each time he’s made the location a surprise. This year, I had a couple of clues: we were going for one night and driving, so it had to be somewhere near London.

On Saturday morning, we got in the car and that’s when he revealed our destination: Rye in East Sussex. You might not have heard of it before. It’s a very small town just inland from the south coast. Henry James lived there for several years. My husband said he chose it because it looked like it would appeal to an American (in other words, it’s got really, really old stuff) and to a romance novelist.

He was right on both counts.

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Why my novel is more like my husband than my child

Wedding rings on bookI often hear writers refer to their creations as their babies, and fret about sending them out into the world to be judged and possibly ridiculed. I can understand the analogy, since a novel is a deeply important part of you that somehow takes on its own life.

My relationship with my novel, though, is more like my relationship with my husband, and here’s why.

1. My novel exists.

This is actually more about me being up-front with you from the beginning. I don’t have kids, so when I talk about relationships with children I’m talking out of almost complete ignorance of what that relationship is really like.

My novel may not be published, but I can print it out right now and make it tangible. Offspring will take considerably more effort to conjure up. Perhaps I could say that my future novels are like my children, since they’re just as nebulous to me.

Continue reading “Why my novel is more like my husband than my child”