Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Paranormal saturation?

I've been cruising several blogs lately, notably Karen's. The comments and blog posts have hinted at reader saturation for paranormals--the vamps, witches, warlocks and were-everything. I've been writing since 2003, a babe in the woods compared to others who've been around much longer. Paranormal was the hottest-selling genre when I started. For all I know, it could still be the best-selling genre of all. Without actual numbers, there's no way of knowing.

I write mostly contemporaries and futuristics. My contemporary stories have sold better than my futuristics ones, but I don't intend to stop writing futuristics. I love world-building. It's like a blank canvas and I have the freedom to create whatever I want. It's exciting. I tried my hand at a paranormal for EC once, which was turned down, by the way. Reading it now, I'm thankful it was rejected. It wasn't good at all.

It's not a stretch to say that the paranormal market has exploded. The big publishing houses in New York have their own paranormal line, as well as the ebook publishers. Is the market saturated? Maybe. Maybe not. But paranormals will always have a place in the market. Any book that's well-written and well-edited will be successful. A plot line with original twists and turns and engaging characters will resonate with readers. I know of several very successful authors who write great paranormals. They're very good at what they do and their NY contracts prove it.

Like everything else, I believe that romance books/genres are not immune to cycles. What's hot today might not be so hot in a couple of years. What's important is that authors continue to create well-written, emotionally-gripping, imagination-stirring romance stories that readers love. Whether it's erotic romance, romantic suspense, time travel, futuristic, paranormal or just plain contemporary, readers will love a good book. Romance is an industry that continues to evolves. We just have to adapt to change. And change is always good.

Monday, April 30, 2007


I've been watching Showtime's The Tudors and have been drooling over an actor named Henry Cavill. He plays Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk.

There isn't a whole lot of info about him. He was born in '83, which makes him only 24 years old. A bit young for my taste, but hey, he's serious eye candy. Yum. He's a total hottie, ladies. Be sure to check him out. *g*

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dark Heroes

I read Karen's post about dark heroes in romances. Do you like them? I do. To me, a dark hero is just as appealing, sometimes even more, than one who isn't. I like angst. I like baggage. I like a man who's weathered storms that have helped shape the man he is now. That gives him character and depth. Yum. So much more fun.

Of course, being dark doesn't mean the hero can be abusive, whether physical or verbal. I have never liked or agreed with a hero who physically hit the woman. But then again, there are exceptions. Now, now, before some of you get in a snit about that, let me clarify. If the slap--and I won't let the hero get any further than a slap--works within the plot and the characterization, then I don't mind it as much. It makes me cringe, but if its done well, it works for me.

For instance? Brenda Joyce's Promise of The Rose, which I read years ago. Loved this book, by the way. I love Joyce's historicals because her heroes are dark and tormented, strong and very alpha. In Promise of the Rose, the hero Stephen discovers his wife's Mary's alleged betrayal (whoa, is this is big ol' misunderstanding plot? *g* It does exist, then)when she left him and fled to her the family castle in Scotland when she overheard Stephen talking about laying seige against her father, Malcolm, the King. Stephen surmised that Mary had been spying and left to warn her family. If I remember correctly, she was deathly afraid for the lives of her brothers and parents. Mary fled to a monastery after hearing of her husband's anger at her perceived betrayal. To make a long story short, Stephen eventually found her. Mary tried to beg him to understand. He was so angry he slapped her (and unbeknownst to him, she's pregnant here) and banished her to some faraway castle.

Okay. This was a powerful scene for me. Why? Stephen was understandably angry at her betrayal. Instead of staying by his side, which was her duty, Mary left him to go to her family. Was the slap warranted? I thought so. In the context of the time setting, during those days when the man had absolute authority over his wife, I believed it. I'm as much of a feminist as the next woman, but when I'm reading a book, it has to stay true to the time setting. Promise of the Rose's plot revolved around politics, betrayals, arranged marriage, spying and royal intrigue. In this case, Stephen slapping his wife--once--worked. Joyce handled it well, I thought.

Don't get me wrong, though. If a hero is cruel and likes to beat a woman senseless just to get his kicks, then that's repulsive to me. Can't read something like that.

So yeah, I prefer dark heroes all around. I love to show the contrast between being a strong male, yet coping with some torment of sorts. It makes him real, somehow. Still larger than life, but real.