Tag Archives: romance novels

PFF8 ~ Buy My Book! Thank

Friday Flashback

Welcome to my Friday Flashback! This post originally appeared here on July 26, 2014, as a teaser to get peeps to buy my romance novel, Fiona’s Fling. It’s my best-seller, not that that’s saying a lot, lol. But people who have read it liked it ~ if you’re one of them, pleeeeeeease leave a review like Nancy and Gary did (💖💖💖). If you’re not, please consider buying it immediately, reading it, and reviewing it… honestly, what else do you have to do? Let’s be real. 🙄

Maybe I should work on my pitch.

Fiona’s Fling

Continuing my theme of relentless self-promo, here’s an excerpt from Fiona’s Fling on the Lit Central O.C. Website [link deleted because it changed]:

Cathy nodded as she took another piece of sushi. “Have more of this. Don’t make me look like a pig. So you figured to practice your mad lurve-making skills on this dude and get back up to speed . . . what’s his name anyway?”

“Mike.” Fiona swished a piece of sushi in the spicy sauce.

“Mike what?”

Laughing, Fiona said, “Well, I don’t know. He made this big joke of it, like he was a mobster. He did look Italian and could put on a great Tony Soprano type of voice.”

“But you don’t really think . . .” Cathy whispered and leaned across the table. “He is?” [link deleted because it changed]

I know some of you have already bought (and hopefully read) Fiona’s Fling cuz you are awesome, but there is still a chance for everyone to be awesome and buy Fiona’s Fling right now ~ and it’s on sale, yahoo!

20 Questions Book Tag

romance novels

The lovely Carol Anne tagged me for the 20 questions book tag. I can’t resist a book tag.

1. HOW MANY BOOKS ARE TOO MANY FOR A SERIES?

I’m not a huge fan of series in general. Though it can be enjoyable to see a character having various adventures that get wrapped up by the end of each book, such as the Archy McNally detective stories. And I love when a a character from another story pops in just to say hello. That’s always fun. I suppose if a series is written well, it could go on indefinitely. I usually get bored though, just like with TV series.

2. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CLIFFHANGERS?

I am a fan. Most are predictable because I’ve read so much, but the ones that can surprise me are great.

3. HARDCOVER OR PAPERBACK?

Ebooks please.

FAVOURITE BOOK?

The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I highly recommend it.

5. LEAST FAVOURITE BOOK?

Ulysses. My dad always wanted me to read this mess.

6. LOVE TRIANGLES, YES OR NO?

Of course!

7. THE MOST RECENT BOOK YOU COULDN’T FINISH?

Nobody’s Baby But Mine, a terrible romance with hateful protagonists.

8. A BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING?

I’m about to begin Black Obsidian.

9. LAST BOOK YOU RECOMMENDED TO SOMEONE?

TULOB (see above).

10. OLDEST BOOK YOUVE READ BY PUBLICATION DATE?

I’ve read parts of the Torah, so probably that.

11. NEWEST BOOK YOUVE READ BY PUBLICATION DATE?

Probably Unicorns Are Jerks by Doug X.

12. FAVOURITE AUTHOR?

Ray Carver, Haruki Murakami, Jennifer Crusie.

13. BUYING BOOKS OR BORROWING BOOKS?

I buy ebooks and a very few paperbacks. Lately, most of my books are borrowed under the KU program. It’s not exactly “unlimited” anymore though, now is it? 😂

14. A BOOK YOU DISLIKE THAT EVERYONE SEEMS TO LOVE?

Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings.

15. BOOKMARKS OR DOG EARS?

It’s hard to dog-ear a Kindle.

16. A BOOK YOU CAN ALWAYS RE-READ?

Poetry.

17. CAN YOU READ WHILE LISTENING TO MUSIC?

I can, but why?

18. ONE POV OR MULTIPLE?

Prefer either one first-person POV, or multi thirds. Am not a fan of the trendy multi firsts unless the stories are separate shorts.

19. DO YOU READ A BOOK IN ONE SITTING OR OVER MULTIPLE DAYS?

Depends on how long it is and what else I have going on. Usually it takes me a day or two to read a romance and maybe slightly longer for other genres.

20. WHO DO YOU TAG?

Whoever loves books!

An Award! 🌸

Lovely Linda has lavished me with a Liebster! Thank you so much, Linda! 💖

First, I’m to present 11 facts about myself. Yes, the dreaded 11… why 11? I don’t know. But there’s nothing to be done about it. Off we go.

1. I’m a single mom of two fabulous adult daughters, and I do take a lot of credit for the fact that they’re both wonderful people.

2. I’ve worked for the same company for 18 years.

3. I’ve been married and divorced twice.

4. I was born in Sleepy Hollow, NY, but I never saw the Headless Horseman.

5. I lived in Chicago, IL for several years, and it was freezing. 🥶

6. I tried to find my soul mate after my last divorce, but nothing worked out, so now I just write all the time.

7. I’ve self-published 6 books of poetry and fiction as Paula Light. 😀

8. One of them will be available in audio shortly.

9. I’ve also self-published 2 romance novels and several short erotica stories as Anna Fondant. 🔥

10. Someone is narrating my first romance novel right now, so it should be available as an audiobook soon.

11. I have a bazillion more novels, novellas, short stories, and collections planned out to write, edit, and self-publish before I die. 🙃

Okay then. Now I’m supposed to answer some specific questions. Guess how many there are? Eleven again. Yeppers.

1. How important is Wi-Fi for you? Is warm running water or wireless internet more important?

This looks suspiciously like two questions to me. Can I get a ruling? Wi-Fi is very important, but obviously warm running water is more important. I don’t want to be boiling pots of water on the stove to wash my hair in the sink. Annoying! 😠

2. Name your favourite blogger (any genre).

Whoever gives me compliments is my fave.

3. If you have to pick a place to settle down forever, where would it be and why?

I’d like to be, under the sea, in an octopus’s garden, in the shade… 🐙

4. What is one silly moment you’ve had that you’d like to share?

I went to CVS yesterday for eyedrops and saw they were having a greeting card sale. I got so excited by the cute cards I forgot my vow to quit buying cards because they’re a waste and I picked out three. Then I forgot to notice if the cashier gave me the third one for free like the sale said. This morning I checked my receipt and of course she charged me for all of them.

5. What is your favourite trait about yourself?

I’m so good at sticking to resolutions. 😜

6. What is your favourite time of day?

Lunch!

7. Tell us your favourite food/cuisine.

Seafood with pasta. I guess that’s Italian.

8. Name three destinations you would like to visit once in your lifetime.

Yellowstone, Taos, Boston. 🚊

9. If you could change something in the world, what would it be?

Get rid of parasites. So gross.

10. What are you most passionate about?

Writing.

11. What is so special about your blog?

It reflects my creativity and my life; it’s not a regurgitation of headlines or clichés. I try to offer fresh and interesting content to keep readers amused. I hope I succeed, at least sometimes.

And… that’s all she wrote! 🙃

PFF5 ~ Holy Matrimony!

Welcome to my Friday Flashback! This post originally appeared here on July 5, 2014. I hope you enjoy the romance novel review even if you aren’t a fan of the genre.

At The Duke’s Wedding

At The Duke’s Wedding [dead link deleted] is a collection of four novellas, all set at a grand old English estate during the week of festivities surrounding the wedding of the Duke of Wessex. Each novella has a different author.

 

WARNING ~ SPOILERS ABOUND ~ CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

 

1. That Rogue Jack by Maya Rodale. This story is incredibly, tediously stupid. Jack is a gorgeous moron who misplaces the heirloom wedding ring he picked up for the groom from a jeweler. Inexplicably, the bride-to-be requests great grand Aunt Whozis’ companion, Henrietta, to get moronic Jack to hand over the ring. They spend days sneaking around trying to find it because Jack, who is a moron, can’t remember where he put it. As they do this, they fall in love. That’s the plot.

2. I was going to stop reading after that first awful story, but decided that wasn’t fair to the other authors. Glad I continued. In P.S. I Love You (by Miranda Neville), the witty and poetic scarred-face Christian reluctantly agrees to write love letters to Rosanne for his boring but good-looking cousin Frank. Of course Chris falls in love with Rosanne because her letters are so charming, and she with him, though of course she thinks he’s Frank. When they all meet at the Duke’s place, complications ensue. Predictable, but actually good.

3. When I Met My Duchess by Caroline Linden.  This story is about the Duke himself, who is not some old gross gouty fellow but young and beefcakey, and how he falls for his betrothed’s hot and unconventional sister the moment she steps down from her carriage in front of his house. Oopsy. I liked it. 

4. How Angela Got Her Rogue Back by Katharine Ashe. The title is misleading and also clunky ~ unforgiveable! But let us proceed. This story involves time-travel, which I don’t mind at all, if it makes some kind of sense. Even a little bit of sense will do. Modern-day Angela materializes at the Duke’s party 200 years earlier after reading a weird book and falling into a Michigan river. That was OK, but less so was the convoluted blackmail scheme she thwarts to save Viscount Studmuffin’s family. What really bugs the crap out of me though is when Angela ~poof~ vanishes again for no reason. I totally lost interest in the story right there. But I finished it of course, and read the teaser for an upcoming story, which has the Duke’s little sister finding Angela’s cell phone…

Onward!

Threesomes! (with pics)

Cee’s fun photo challenge this week is to post pics of things in threes or the number 3. I found a few…

PFF3: POV PP

Paula’s Friday Flashback this week is a post from June 21, 2013, wherein I rant about point of view switching within scenes. Enjoy!

Minor peeve. I was careless with “only” in my post. Sorry about that.

Point of View

Sorry, got distracted.

One of my huge pet peeves while reading is a mid-scene POV switch. This shouldn’t be a problem in a first-person novel (one would hope), but writers will switch deliberately or sloppily while writing in third. Grrrr! In olden days, it was acceptable to write in scattershot POV, but the contemporary way is to keep to one character’s viewpoint per scene (and sometimes per chapter).

This makes a lot of sense if you think about it. The reader can relax and trust the writer to put you inside one character’s head at a time, with sensory data and thoughts being processed by him or her (or it, if non-human). You only know what that character knows during this time, feel what she feels, etc. If the story is a romance, you’re there with her wondering if the hero will ever return from his quest. If the story is a murder, you’re right there with the detective putting the clues together.

I recently read a short story in workshop where two men were involved in a tense situation, involving a possible murder, and the POV flipped from one to the other. It was difficult to get “into” the story fully because of this and it also led to confusion about who was thinking/feeling what at times. When we know the writer has stuck us inside only one character’s head, these problems are mitigated simply by the fact that anyone’s thoughts or feelings are THAT guy’s. We don’t have to wonder.

Someone said that wrt to a novel you should write a scene from the POV of the character who has the most to lose at that point. I’d like to say this is a Jennifer Crusie quote, but I can’t remember and CBA looking it up at 5:30am. It makes a lot of sense and doesn’t only apply to romance novels of course. Though I find it the most irritating when a romance novelist (either deliberately or stupidly) has a switch in a sex scene. It’s so distracting. This is the perfect example of a time you need to stay inside one character’s head for the duration of a scene and not mess up. I think this is why I had to give Animal Attraction only two stars on Goodreads. That just bugged the hell out of me. And Shalvis is not a beginning writer, so no excuses.

I’m not sure how any of this applies to second person. I haven’t written anything that way, too annoying, nor did I read BLBC. I think second is like first though, but with this hipstery distancing thing going on, right? I don’t know. Can’t deal with it.

Whatever. DON’T SWITCH MID-SCENE. Ever. This is one of those rules that you don’t break even when you are all jaded and above following rules.

PFF2: Crabby Book Review

Welcome to the second edition of Paula’s Friday Flashback! For this one, I present a crabby book review I wrote on June 14, 2013. What makes this funny (to me) is that just yesterday I was defending the entire romance novel genre from that twit Nicholas Sparks, but here 6 years ago I was disgusted with it myself! Hah. That’s probably because I was dating back then and trying desperately to blame my poor choices on anything other than my own bad judgment. Oh, it must be because I was overly influenced by romance novels. Sure, Jan.

Or maybe I’m just inconsistent. Whatever!

*

Animal Attraction

By Jill Shalvis. I gave this book a 2-star rating (“it was okay”) on Goodreads even though I enjoyed it for the most part, but I’ve given better books a 3-star, and I want to have some sense of fairness in my ratings.

As I thought objectively about AA, and disregarded the fact that I ripped through it because it was fun and sexy and had a kitty (and lots of other aminals too ~ hero Dell was a vet), I realized it had one of the Fatal Flaws of romance novel writing. The “plot,” such as it was, hinged on the premise that there was an End Date looming, a date at which our heroine Jade absolutely had to leave Sunshine, Idaho and return home to Chicago, therefore preventing Jade and Dell from becoming emotionally entangled, which they would resist in any case since Dell was one of those emotionally unavailable kind of guys we all break our hearts over in real life though in RNs they always become available which upfucks the brains of women who read these STUPID BOOKS but I digress, and they both knew this. (Of course Jade tried not to become physically involved with him either, but that didn’t work. Obviously.)

But as it turned out the End Date was totally arbitrary ~ Jade didn’t have to leave. She had made a promise to her family she’d come home, mostly because they’d been nagging her unreasonably, and since she was a 30 year old woman, it would have been totally acceptable, if not downright advisable, for her to tell them, dudes, I found a good job, a cool apartment, and a great boyfriend here in Idaho, so BACK OFF, I’m staying indefinitely. And so basically there was no plot if you discount this made up out of thin air date. If you do discount the date, then the whole story becomes this whiny thing of ermahgerd I gotta go, can’t let myself fall for hunkyvet, and him thinking why must she go, everyone abandons me just like mommy. Bleh.

Plus there were sloppy POV switches within scenes (annoying and unforgivable!) and missing quotation marks, super-distracting. Upside, the dialog was great and witty, and there were fun minor characters. Shalvis has a ton of books available and I can tell from the blurbs and reviews (however positive) that they’re all gonna be about the same. But one was enough for me.

~*~

Check out Fandango’s FF, where this whole idea originated. It’s all his fault! 😂

We Don’t Want Him

Nicholas Sparks is trending because he refused to accept an LGBTQ 🏳️‍🌈 club in the Christian school he founded and there’s some ongoing litigation yada. Apparently part of the case has been settled, and he has the legal right to be intolerant, so that’s cool. I more or less support keeping it legal for private clubs to arbitrarily let in and keep out whom they please, as opposed to landlords, employers, public schools, etc. (Whether they should get tax breaks is a different issue.)

Just because something is legal however doesn’t make it good or right. It’s also legal to cheat on your wife. But that’s not what I came here to discuss today. If you don’t already know, Nicholas Sparks is a writer, a hugely bestselling writer. His books have been made into movies. You’ve surely heard of The Notebook? Well, there you go.

In the frenzy to bash Sparks, people have been conflating his books with romance novels and dumping on the whole genre. Now, I don’t mind bashing Sparks ~ I made a yucky 🤮 face on Twitter myself. I can’t stand his sterile prose ~ and that was before I knew he was super religious. Now my review of Safe Haven from 2013 makes a lot more sense.

But let’s be clear: Nicholas Sparks is not a romance novelist. He says himself he isn’t one, and he is correct. He writes general fiction (“love stories”) with romantic elements. It’s an important distinction, peeps! To be a romance novel, a story must have a Happily Ever After ending. If you want to bash the genre, go ahead. If you want to rag on Sparks, for his politics or his writing or both, have at it.

But please don’t lump Nicholas Sparks in with romance novelists. Cuz that just pisses me right off. 😡💥🔥 He’s not welcome in our club. On the whole, you will find the protags in romance novels to be a tolerant lot, or they become tolerant as the story progresses.

I note that in The Daily Beast article I linked in my first sentence, Sparks bags on the whole romance novel genre because he’s a stupid ass who has read none of the books he’s criticizing. Romance novels are not about “the taming of a man” ~ if anything, they err on the side of misogyny, even though they are written largely by women and mostly from the POVs of the female protagonists. What they are, are fantasies of what it would be like if an alpha hero fell in love with you and wanted you more than anything on this earth, and indeed would do anything on this earth to make you his own. And he succeeds. That is what romance novels are and why those of us who love them, love them. ❤️❤️❤️

Sparks can stick with his yawningly vanilla pudding Ken-doll heroes because there is obviously a market for bland safe smooth love too.

^^^ The sexual excitement level in a Sparks’ novel goes from zero to pudding.

Paula’s Friday Flashback

Fandango has yet another great idea! Is there no end to them? (Rhetorical.) He suggests we repost an older post today to give our readers a {{{ fLAsHBacK }}} to days gone bye. Now, I am not following directions precisely (when do I ever?) cuz I used to not only skip bunches of days but also delete posts on whims. Crazy wot? So, this particular post I’m sharing is dated June 6, 2011, which was yesterday. Deal with it!

More on Romance and Porn

Because you are not tired of this topic yet, nope. 🙂

(Look, it was either this or complaining about how my dad can’t handle his banking any longer and now I have to pay his bills on top of all my other monumental burdens like, um, deciding whether to blog or hem my beige pants.)

So this Salon article, which was criticizing a hit piece targeting romance novels, purportedly set out to defend both porn and romance, but did neither very well. Sometimes I wonder why I visit Salon at all; so much of the writing is pure crap.

But that’s not what I’m here to discuss. I followed the link to the KSL article warning women away from the potential addiction of romance novels, which I have to say was much better written than the Salon piece, even if you disagreed with it. I suppose there is a nugget of truth to the idea that if you spend all day every day reading about perfect alpha fantasy men you’ll eventually find your own normal lump of a husband not measuring up in comparison, but most women aren’t going to be consuming romance novels like the way they eat bags of Snickers bars in the closet for Pete’s sake.  (Not SAYIN’ anyone here does that with the Snickers bars, ahem.)

Never mind that in any case. I followed a sidebar link from the KSL piece to Moore to the Point’s romance novel bloggery. Obviously this is a religious dude with an agenda, but so what if he makes a good argument, I say. And I’m saying that.

Both are based on an illusion. Pornography is based on the illusion of a perfectly willing, always aroused partner without the “work” of relational intimacy. Often romance novels or their film equivalents do the same thing for the emotional needs of women that pornography offers for the erotic urges of men.

And in both cases, what the “market” wants is sameness. Men want the illusion of women who look just like women but are, in terms of sexual response, just like men. Women want the illusion of men who are “real” men, but, in terms of a concept of romance, are just like women. In both artificial eros and artificial romance, there is the love of the self, not the mystery of the other.

Ooh. Interesting, no? I think so! Discuss. I have to get ready for work.

~*~

I don’t actually have to get ready for work today, June 7, 2019, cuz I took the day off to celebrate National Donut 🍩 Day!

P.S. My dad passed away March 11, 2013.

The Weekly Smile

I’ve skipped a few of these, my bad. Last weekend was pretty smiley though. Three days off work is always welcome (though I did some side work). Received the good news that a story I submitted in March will be published in an anthology soon. Had a fun Saturday night playing games with friends. Spent a sweet Sunday afternoon with my daughter and granddaughter. And had a nice relaxing Monday doing nothing, my favorite thing. Mmm nothing!

J/k. I actually worked on that old novel I’ve been jabbering about, only to discover that it’s a colossal mess and I can’t deal with it. I fixed chapters 1-5, which were reasonably chaotic, but then the thing jumps off a cliff. I’m not jumping after it.

Back to short stories, poems, and stuff I can tackle in short bursts, until I retire or die, whichever comes first!

~*~

The Weekly Smile