The Beauty of Romance as a Sub-genre

The Beauty of Romance as a Sub-genre

Some time ago I wrote a post on my least favorite genre, which is romance. I don’t like pure romance books because it seems a prerequisite for writing one is to have crap happen that muddles a relationship, and then it ends happily-ever-after. It’s not that I don’t believe that happy relationships aren’t possible, because I am in one myself, but it’s very formulaic. If I know they’re going to get together in the end, I frankly don’t give a crap what happens in the book to bring them up to that point because I basically know the ending, mmkay? I think romance is a sweet, beautiful thing, but if the outcome is predictable, I will not bother with the book. Period. And, really, most of the outcomes are predictable because romance is a wish-fulfillment genre. But the beauty about romance as a sub-genre is that the plot can do anything to that romance, and you have no idea what it’s going to be.

I am about to spoil The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, so if you have not read it and want to read it, I suggest not reading this next part. The primary genre of this book is basically sick lit, even though it is shelved in your basic teen fiction and is considered literature.The Fault in Our Stars.jpg But it is also a tragic romance, which I didn’t know upon picking up the book. I knew there was romance in it, muddled by cancer and teen things, but I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I began reading it.

This has become one of my favorite books of all time partly because of the sick lit and partly because of the romance as sub-genre.

As I began reading the book, I melted at the sweet romance, but I also began to realize this romance wasn’t going to end well, but I had no idea who it wasn’t going to end well for and why. Hazel has stage IV thyroid cancer and Gus is an amputee whose cancer is in remission. Now John Green masterfully creates foreshadow to show who is going to bear what tragedy, but it is symbolism that you have to really pay attention to. As the end of the book draws near, Gus’s cancer returns and it is Hazel who must bear the tragedy of witnessing Gus’s dying. This was completely unpredictable because Gus’s cancer had been in remission for a while and even though Hazel is on a treatment plan that has kept her cancer at bay, her lungs were basically useless, so she has to carry around an oxygen tank, and she still struggles with her cancer in ways Gus daoesn’t have to struggle with his. So Gus dies at the end, a rather horrific death, let’s be honest, and your feelings have been left slaughtered and bloody because you spend x amount of pages reading the romance between Hazel and Gus, only for the sick lit aspect of the book to tear it apart. It is sad and tragic, but Hazel draws strength from the tragedy and knows she can survive it.

TFIOS has made me fall in love with romance as a sub-genre because, really, the main genre can send the romance spiraling in a thousand different directions that romance as a genre doesn’t seem to do. And the romance itself can really muddle the main plot in a thousand delectable ways.

Do you remember some time ago when I said that When Stars Die’s sequel was not going to have romance? Well, I’m back to working on it now and have discovered that there is some romance. It’s not as much as WSD, but there is still romance in it and I have decided to keep it because, well, a lot of crap happens to Alice, and she deserves something amongst all the crappiness. But, of course, the romance aspect is completely unpredictable. I don’t even know where my MC and her love interest are going to end up. But I hesitate to say that this one can be defined as paranormal romance like WSD can be. This one will just be flat out paranormal. Possibly paranormal suspense.

Once I finish with the Stars trilogy and this contemporary fantasy, I am going to start on a sick lit, sort of tragic romance book myself. I’m thinking of doing a novel-length alternative version of a YA contemporary short story I did last month. But that won’t be for some time–but I’ll probably start outlining it anyway just so it’s there.




Help With Cover Reveal for When Stars Die

Help With Cover Reveal for When Stars Die

StarsYesterday I received the mock covers for When Stars Die (they’re gorgeous!), so it’s getting fairly close to being done. I don’t have a formal date for the cover reveal. I’m pretty much going to do it once I get the okay or whatever, but I would love some help with doing it. Basically, should you decide to help me, I’ll e-mail you with a small media packet with like the synopsis and all that (and hopefully a release date with it), and you can post it on your blog or whatever social media site is most convenient for you, or whatever has the most followers. Twitter probably isn’t the best site to use in this case, but things like Tumblr, Facebook, ect…

In exchange for helping me with this, I’ll enter you in an Amazon gift card giveaway I’ll do, that way you can buy whatever books you want–or whatever you want, really.

All you need t9 do is comment below that you’d like to help, along with your e-mail address. Or you can e-mail me at that you’d like to help if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your address in the comments below.

Thank you so much everyone!

Paranormal Tropes My Book Destroys

Paranormal Tropes My Book Destroys

The other day I was going through my Twitter feed, which re-introduced me to Steph Bowe, a young author who had her first book published at 15 titled Girl Saves Boy. She’s nineteen now, but I once obsessed over her at one point because I wanted to be among the elusive breed of teen authors, but now I’m just among the elusive breed of authors under 25 since most find they don’t receive their first publication until they’re older than 25, I guess. But I did start When Stars Die at 15 before shelving it for about 6 years, so I guess that counts for something. But you guys should check out Steph Bowe’s blog. It’s where I got the idea for today’s post since she mentions paranormal tropes she’s stumbled upon in published YA paranormal books.

Let the troping begin!

  1. The male interest is often hundreds of years older than the protagonist. Oliver is only a few years older than Amelia, but Amelia is 18 at the start of the book. If it weren’t for a certain something, technically Oliver would be Amelia’s age.
  2. Special eyes, being ridiculously attractive. Nope. Oliver is very average, and I make that a point when Amelia describes him. But as her feelings deepen for Oliver, he becomes more attractive. I do this to show that our burgeoning love for someone can make that person more beautiful. Also, Oliver’s eyes are a grayish color, so there isn’t exactly anything special about them. But those eyes do become more beautiful as Amelia begins to fall in love with him.
  3. Creepy, stalkery supernatural creatures. Nope. Not Oliver. Amelia and Oliver already have feelings for one another right when the book begins, which is probably a first among the paranormal genre. Oliver wants more and makes it known, while Amelia really just wants to be a nun in her fervent attempt to save her brother, who is a witch, the ultimate sin in her world. But Oliver isn’t stalkery or pushy about it. They’re best friends, for crying out loud, so they know each other very well. If Oliver’s pushy, it’s only because their interactions suggest both of them want more than what’s already there.
  4. Supernatural creatures being at war with one another. Not in my book. Witches are victimized by humans. Another supernatural force wants to victimize humans for revenge.
  5. “But it can’t be real!” and then the MC suddenly believes it a few sentences later. I make it a point to have Amelia believe she’s hallucinating about a certain supernatural force she sees. It takes some building up for Amelia to realize her supernatural force is not a product of a hallucination. Also, I do this for His Vanity. But Gene struggles with hallucinations anyway.
  6. “You know he/she loves you, right?” Again, feelings at beginning of book. Amelia’s best friend had nothing to do with this. In fact, she discourages the relationship because of where Amelia and Oliver stand.
  7. “I don’t trust you.” “You shouldn’t.” This would be a spoiler for me to explain, so I’ll just say Amelia and Oliver have a deep-seated trust for one another.

I did write When Stars Die with the idea that I would eliminate all paranormal tropes. I am very much burnt out on reading paranormal (unless it’s recommended to me and lacks the usual tropes), so I decided to write When Stars Die as the ideal paranormal book that I’d like to read. So I hope you guys enjoy WSD. Also, I just want to say that WSD is actually more heavy on the paranormal than the romance aspect, in spite of the tropes I chose to throw down. Granted, I highly doubt WSD is free of tropes, but it’s certainly original in its own right.



Screenshot (13)Yes, I finally got my own website separate from this blog! It will contain updates about my book, media updates, my vlog archive, and other fun, exciting tidbits that I am still working on which will likely appear around the release date of When Stars Die. Just click on to check it out!

Also, Sister Evelyn Part II is out! Well, it’s been out but I’ve been too busy to share its release.

So check out the website and the fiction piece!

I also have a burgeoning Facebook Page I would like you guys to check out. You can receive lots of updates from there, as well as links to things I find interesting and general ballet craziness.

Gendered Covers for Young Adult Novels

Gendered Covers for Young Adult Novels

2013-05-23-CoverFlip2 If you’ve been paying attention to the world of publishing lately, then you’ll know there’s been a lot of complaints regarding the book covers of young adult books. They’re too gendered, appealing to one gender over another, instead of trying to appeal to both. Here is a good article on the subject. The article basically states that due to the nature of the covers, pink covers, or “girly” covers, will turn away boys and suggest that they don’t need to concern themselves with the female experience. It is acknowledged that girls will read almost anything but boys won’t, so to gender neutralize covers will draw in both. At the same time, the article also acknowledges that this isn’t full-proof because then it’s just feeding into sexism, whereby masculinity is seen as the norm, seen as gender neutral, and femininity is not.

I don’t think covers need to be gender neutralized. I don’t think that’s where the problem lies. I think the problem lies in the misrepresentation of the book, and the article does acknowledge this–briefly. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar received a rather, *ahem*, jarring cover makeover that is actually rather insulting. This cover makes the story of The Bell Jar seem frivolous. It’s not that it’s “girly”, because there is certainly nothing wrong with that. It’s that it’s completely misrepresenting what The Bell Jar is about!

images (3) I don’t even like the term “girly.” We grow up thinking pink is for girls and blue is for boys, but pink was once for boys and blue for girls. Funny how marketing changed all that.

There isn’t anything wrong with a pink cover, as long as it’s not misrepresenting what the book is about. I frankly enjoy the color pink–a light pink though, much like the satin on pointe shoes. But I rather hate the thought that boys are turned off by pink covers. We’ve made it such  a threatening color to the point where pink covers on books scare boys away. That needs to change–not the book covers, unless they’re misrepresenting the book.

I think pink is sassy, outgoing, and bold. So, pink wouldn’t fit with any of my books because my characters aren’t sassy, outgoing, or bold. But I don’t see it as inherently girly. Wanting to get rid of pink covers or anything “girly” is just feeding into sexism, and that doesn’t need to happen.

When I do my book covers, I don’t even think of the gender of my readers. When I do a book a cover, I think of an object, something symbolic, that would relay the overall theme of my novel. Then I think of a background color that would best emphasize the object and portray the book. The cover for When Stars Die has not yet been approved, but I chose a certain object that symbolizes the freedom all witches seek, but yet they’re tightly bound by the rules of their mortal world. I then painted a dark blue, snowy backdrop since the book takes place in the freezing winter, and dark blue hints at the darkness present in the book.

Of course, if this cover is not approved, I did mention what kind of cover I wanted, and it’s a cover that will emphasize the darkness in the book. It’s a paranormal romance, more heavy on the paranormal/darkness aspect than on the romance. The romance is important, but the book isn’t just about that, so to have a cover that tries to convey the romance in my book would be total misrepresentation.

Overall, what I think needs to happen with book covers is that the stories need to start being properly represented, without publishers worrying about what gender to market to. An attractive cover is an attractive cover, and I think both boys and girls can agree on this, whether or not that cover is trying to market to one gender or another. The Bell Jar, for one thing, could use a total cover overhaul. It’s completely disrespecting both Sylvia Plath and her story.

Finding a Book Title

Finding a Book Title

I'm actually thinking this could be a good cover for the sequel.
I’m actually thinking this could be a good cover for the sequel.

 Since my brain is fizzled this morning, I decided to do one of the topics I proposed in my last blog post because it would be interesting to read how I choose my titles versus how someone else does.

When Stars Die actually went through four title changes. The first time it was Croix Infernal because I had an evil cross in the book and my characters were French, but neither of those things exists anymore, so the title had to be scrapped. The second title was Lady Tourniquet because the sequel was Witch Tourniquet. Lady Tourniquet could still make sense, but the theme in When Stars Die isn’t about suffering or bleeding for anyone or being a sacrifice like it is in the sequel. So while the title was nice it, too, had to be axed. Then I came up with When Silence Screams because MC Amelia feels trapped in her mind most of the time since she has to bear a burdensome secret no one else can know, but that didn’t fit the main theme of the book well, so I knew I wanted to change the title.

I just couldn’t think of what to change it to.

So I just flipped through my book and stumbled across the most meaningful passage that neatly wrapped up the entire theme of the book. Amelia is talking about stars and how when they die they leave a lasting impact. The stars we see today might not even exist today or only appear as they were centuries ago. So Amelia contemplates this, wondering if witches will leave behind such an impact, or if they wither away, leaving nothing behind.

This made me realize the main theme of my book involved what one leaves behind after one dies because Amelia tries so hard to find some meaningful way to live her life while also appealing to her god Deus. She wants to leave something behind
but is terrified that she can’t. However, she is determined. Thus, I came up with the title When Stars Die.

So when I choose my book titles, I choose them based off the main theme, which can be difficult to find in the first draft. However, Stolentime, my newest book, will likely stay because the little town called Stolentime is where everything happens for Gene, where he changes and grows. Stolentime is separate from his world, so it allows Gene to develop a new perspective on life, a perspective he can’t receive being at home since he is coddled due to his illness.

Stupid Writing Advice

Stupid Writing Advice


There are a few rules on this list to the right that have me seething out of my writerly mind. Some of them are good, but some of them are outright ridiculous, whether or not you have the experience to know when to break them. I’m going to pick at the ones from this list that I find extremely stupid.

1. Write what you know.

I hate this one because it’s impossible to write what you know. And really, I should only break this rule in an emergency? You’re not going to know every facet of your book, hence why many a published book was written with research in mind. If you write what you know, your story is likely to not be that interesting. I had no idea about the workings of a convent when I wrote When Stars Die. I did research on the Salem Witch Trials. The point is, I had to do research, and you likely will too. I suppose if you took this rule literally, write what you know includes writing what you know from research, but in this list, this list that says to only break these rules in emergencies, write what you know likely doesn’t include the research aspect.

2. Kids and animals can’t die.

Just what? I get killing off a kid or an animal can be a cheap way to arouse sympathy, but this also suggests that the lives of animals and kids are too valuable, and that the lives of adults don’t hold enough value, so it’s okay to kill off adults, but, by god, you kill off a kid or animal and you’re stepping on sacred ground. I’ll kill off kids or animals if I want to, especially if it’s relevant to my plot. They’re not immune to death.

3. No multiple points of view.

How are you going to learn to use multiple points of view unless you start writing from multiple points of view? If you find it’s pointless later, that’s why you can edit it out. But you’re never going to understand how to use them unless you actually try to write with them. So break this rule. Kill it, if you’re interested in experimenting with multiple POVs. Shannon’s Minutes Before Sunset uses two POVs, and I think she does a marvelous job, and it’s only her second book. I can tell she didn’t care about this “rule.”

4. Happy endings are required for commercial fiction.

No they’re not. Have you been reading commercial fiction lately? A lot of the endings are bittersweet. I don’t consider bittersweet endings happy endings because the MC is often left with some sort of trauma that is going to have to be sorted out. And trauma is painful. It’s not happy.The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray has a bittersweet ending. Mockingjay has a bittersweet ending. I don’t know what commercial books you’ve been reading lately, but I haven’t been reading any with happy endings.

Write whatever ending you want to write. Even if you’re writing commercial fiction. The only books that require happy endings are Harlequin romance novels.

5. If you want to sell, write to current trends.

Just what? Okay, When Stars Die is a paranormal romance, but I didn’t do it to jump on the paranormal bandwagon. It’s dangerous to force yourself to write to current trends because what you write can turn to crap. Also, I’ve seen plenty of books selling that aren’t along current trends. Write whatever the heck you want. Moving on.

6. Write 1000 words a day.

No. Try to write every day, however many words you can get in. Don’t tell me what to do, especially because you don’t know my life.

End rant.

Seeking 9 More Reviewers for Paranormal Romance (Free ARCs included!)

Seeking 9 More Reviewers for Paranormal Romance (Free ARCs included!)

My MC goes to a cathedral like this. This beautiful photograph is by Joshua Holko.
My MC goes to a cathedral like this. This beautiful photograph is by Joshua Holko.

I am sitting at 41 interested reviewers and have 9 spots left to review When Stars Die, a paranormal romance that is more heavy in the paranormal than the romance. You will receive a free ARC in exchange for doing a review and/or quote. You may not receive it for a month or two, but all I would require for now is an e-mail address to put on the list. It is being published by AEC Stellar Publishing.

In any case, here is a bare bones summary of what the book is about:

Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption for a witch, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?


Comment if you are interested! You can either e-mail me your e-mail (you can find my e-mail in the contact tab), or leave your e-mail in the comments.

A Chapter a Day and The Writer’s Bag

A Chapter a Day and The Writer’s Bag

Where Stolentime revisions go.
Where Stolentime revisions go.

So in spite of the ache I have carried with me all day, I managed to get things done. To your left is my fancy smancy notebook for Stolentime revisions. I re-did the revised chapter one notes for the third time because a headcanon from Tumblr of my favorite little Kuroshitsuji II character, Alois Trancy, inspired me to introduce the darkness of my novel upfront. It’ll probably be a few weeks before I actually get to revisions but the chapter one notes are part of a brand new chapter one. My current chapter one will be chapter two, which is very common for me. I was also able to finish the chapter I started yesterday because a random burst of inspiration hit me for how I wanted to tie the ending of the chapter and it was something I couldn’t resist.

Notes for 'Sister Evelyn'
Notes for ‘Sister Evelyn’

I also started doing notes for an installation piece that I am going to do to introduce the world you will find in When Stars Die. Sister Evelyn is a character I came up with on the fly, but she will show the stresses of being a witch and vying for a position as a professed nun at Cathedral Reims. I told you I don’t like to speak about my book in plain terms, and I hope you will enjoy the installation piece I might put up next week contingent on time. By the way, that accordion folder to the right isn’t just stuffed with notes for Sister Evelyn. Part one only takes up three pieces of paper. The rest are blank pages and two short stories I hope to have included with When Stars Die. It goes in my Writer’s Bag, as does the above notebook.

I also managed to gather more reviewers. I am sitting at 39 right now and would like more, so let me know if you’re interested in reviewing a paranormal romance. You will receive a free ARC in exchange for doing a review or a quote. Tomorrow I will probably only put up one blog post so I can work on the next chapter in Stolentime as my job cuts in the middle of the day, which is oftentimes convenient especially because there will be no time when I’m alone, so I can’t do any mult-tasking at work tomorrow. Also, don’t forget about the book giveaway for Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars! That will go until Saturday 9 PM.

Last, I would appreciate if you could like my Facebook page, and you can find that to the right. Share it too, if possible. I want to start utilizing it more instead of just having it sit there.

My Writer's Bag
My Writer’s Bag
My Book Needs Reviewers (ARCs Included)

My Book Needs Reviewers (ARCs Included)

Leave a comment if interested in receiving a free paranormal romance ARC of my soon-to-be-pubbed novel by AEC Stellar Publishing.

This book is looking for reviewers to do, well, reviews and possible quotes for the book before it is released. I am already creating an e-mail list of potential reviewers to give to my contract manager and would love to include anyone interested in reading a paranormal romance. Here is some more information on When Stars Die:

Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being…

View original post 90 more words