Monday, June 30, 2014

Just wait for the movie?

When your favorite book gets turned into a movie, you're first in line to buy tickets, right? What about just skipping the book and going straight to the movie? 

For book lovers, that might sound like craziness, but it's an approach plenty of people take. 

I was talking with one of my lovely readers, Nicole Marie, and she mentioned how she overheard a couple of ladies having a discussion while she was at work. It went something like this: 

Woman 1: I don't read much anymore. 

Woman 2: Why not? 

Woman 1: If it's a really good book, it'll just get made into a movie, so why bother? 

Woman 2: True. 

Really? Now, I know not everyone loves books as much as I do, but is the thought that a book might be made into a movie actually a good reason to give up on reading? 

Personally, I think there are a couple of problems with this reasoning.

First off, the book is ALWAYS better than the movie. There is so much that has to be left out in a movie adaptation. You lose character thoughts, vivid descriptions that do more than just tell you it's a forest, emotions and feelings you can't see the way you can feel them when you read, and so much more. In my opinion, the only movie that came close to being better than the book is "Catching Fire," and that was really only because I thought the book was a bit of a let down after Hunger Games, and the movie cut out a lot of the repetitive parts. 

Secondly, books last longer. In a movie, you get an hour and a half, two hours top, of entertainment. Books, you can lose yourself in for days. You become immersed in the character's lives and their world. You get inside their heads and experience the story with them. You just don't have the same experience with a movie. 

Thirdly, every good book is NOT going to be made into a movie. Some great books are simply too difficult to adapt to the movie screen. Others would be too expensive. Some, too controversial or explicit (though that seems to be less of an issue as time goes by). Some really good books will be made into movies, and us book lovers will be first in line for tickets, but plenty of so-so or outright lousy books will be made into movies right along with them because they would be a low cost venture, are easy to market, would be great competition for big time movies already on screen, or have the potential to be merchandised like crazy. 

Books are made into movies for all kinds of reasons. You're missing out on a lot of great literature if you expect Hollywood to tell you what the best stories are in today's market. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday Writers: Jenny Moore

Today I'm welcoming Jenny Moore!

I tried to think of things that might be interesting to someone reading this post. And when I considered what I would want to know about an author, besides their methods—like brainstorming, outlinining, how they choose character names and things like that, I thought I’d be interested in seeing their workspace.
So here’s mine. 

I re-claimed the “playroom,” now that my kids are older and don’t need a whole room full of toys. It’s the brightest room in the house, which I love, and it has slopey ceilings and a funny shape—perfect!

So, here’s my desk.  I’m glad it has the pull-out computer drawer, because there is never room for the laptop with all the books and stuff. I use that extra monitor when I edit, so I can have one screen with the editor’s notes, and the other with my manuscript.

On my whiteboard, I put notes to myself, and it’s mostly a “to-do” list. 
I have my lego Shakespeare, pepto-bismol, what can I say, I’m one of those people with a perpetually yucky tummy, and a cute sugar bowl my sister-in-law gave me. I like to add sugar to tea and crio brew while I’m sitting there.  Underneath my desk is a space heater and a stool where I put my feet up when I type.

Before I took the picture, I straightened the desk. I’m not a tidy person, but at least I threw away Diet Coke cans and Hot Tamale packages. 

This is what’s behind me. Books I use a lot, and a bulletin board with headshots of my characters—I like to have a visual of the people I write about. And I put them together in couples, because I’m cheesy like that. My certificate from the Storymakers’ First Chapter Contest is framed—yes, I’m proud of it, what can I say?

The rest of the room is filled with bookshelves—some small because of the sloped roof and some bigger. I love this teapot, and the Japanese Manga copy of Reforming Lord Ragsdale that Carla Kelly gave me. 

 My Lit-o-graph of Pride and Prejudice and this cool vintage  lunch box my kids gave me.

More books and my old Wonder Woman costume from when I was a kid. That’s one of my favorite Monet pictures on the wall—my sister gave it to me. She got it in Paris.

Basically, I like to surround myself with things that make me happy or inspire me, and my office is somewhere I feel happy and warm and comfortable. One of these days I think I’ll get a big cozy chair and ottoman where I can sit and read.

Oh, and speaking of things I love, I have a framed picture of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in my office too. He’s the perfect inspiration for writing happily ever romance novels, don’t ya think?


Keep up to date on what Jenny is working on at: 

Jennifer Lunt Moore (FB) (website)
@jennythebrave (twitter)

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Review Police

How far is too far when it comes to making sure reviews are legit? 

Amazon has been getting attacked for their policies toward certain publishers, and I've tried to give them the benefit of doubt. There are always two sides to a story, right? Well, my doubts are piling up. Amazon has done a lot for indie authors who want to self publish, and I appreciate that. What I don't appreciate is the fact that they think they are the Review Police

Over the last month or so, Amazon has decided to crack down on reviews they suspect MIGHT be biased in even the tiniest way. I'm all for people not being able to buy fake reviews. Amazon is taking this concept to a ridiculous level now. 

I tend to write a lot of reviews. I run a book review blog, which accounts for a good portion of my reviews. I'm also An Author, which means I know a lot of other authors. Shocking, I know. Authors, especially indie authors, are great about helping each other out. We review for each other all the time because we know how hard it is to get reviews. Does that mean we aren't honest? Of course not. I've given  3 and 4 stars to books written by some of my closest writing buddies. In fact, authors are notoriously critical readers. According to Amazon, though, if you are an author, it's possible--and even likely, in their opinion--that you know every other author on the planet. If you have an Amazon Author page, they'll most likely flag your review as biased, simply because you're an author and might have a vague connection to the author or the book you're reviewing. They're even going back a removing past reviews done by authors for this same reason. 

What else will get your review kicked back? Get ready, there's a whole list. 

If you have a book published with a traditional publisher, you're not allowed to review for any author with the same publisher, even if you've never met, spoken to, chatted online with, or emailed that author. Amazon sees it as a conflict of interests, because you might be trying to help your publisher sell more books and aren't being honest in your review. 

If you GIFT a copy of your book to someone, there's a good chance they won't be allowed to post a review. Amazon is likely to consider this as payment and refuse to post their review. It doesn't matter that this is one of the few secure ways to send a copy of your book to a reviewer, or that this might have been part of a giveaway you were running, or just a something nice you wanted to do. Amazon doesn't care about the reason behind the gift, just that it might conflict with their narrow sense of "fairness." Switch to using Smashwords to send Gift Copies. 

Same goes for sending someone an Amazon gift card. Amazon may very well consider this as payment to a reviewer, even if you sending someone a gift card had nothing to do with them--at some point--writing a review for one of your books. So, it may not be to your advantage to offer an Amazon gift card as a giveaway prize anymore. Stick with Paypal or Visa. 

Immediate family has always been out as a review option on Amazon. They'll kick back the review if they see you have the same home address or bank account because that person "has a vested interest in the success of your book." Fine. But, this policy is tightening up as well. If Amazon realizes that your extended family or close friends are indeed associated with you, there's a good chance they won't post their review. It doesn't matter if the really did read your book and did in fact enjoy it. Amazon doesn't care. 

Many authors are now creating online Street Teams, dedicated readers who want to help promote your books by tweeting, posting, handing out bookmarks, etc. If you've got yourself a street team, KEEP YOUR MEMBERS SECRET. If Amazon finds out a reviewer is a member of your street team, kiss any reviews from that person goodbye. Amazon believes street team members may receive "perks" that have monetary value, such a bookmarks, or heave forbid, a signed paperback copy or tote bag. How dare an author thank someone for helping to promote their name, right? 

There are probably even more reasons a review might be kicked back, but so far, these are the ones I've had to deal with.

How does Amazon find out whether or not someone is your friend, or on your street team, or might have met you once in a coffee shop ten years ago? Who knows. They've become the books world's equivalent of Homeland Security, apparently. It's really pretty shocking to realize they are digging into reviewers personal lives that much. It's invasive, and over the line, frankly. As I said at the beginning, I think reviews should be honest and never paid for for, but what Amazon is doing will only insure that reviews and readers alike start relying more on Goodreads or Shelfari for reviews. Many authors will no longer post reviews on Amazon, and I'm considering going the same way. Amazon's quest for bookworld domination is only pushing more readers and authors away. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday Writers: Corinna M Dominy

   Today, let's welcome Corinna M. Dominy to 

Wednesday Writers!

My name is Corinna M. Dominy. I am a stay-at-home homeschooling mom. My husband and I have four kids, ages nine to (almost) fourteen.

   Ever since I was a little girl, I loved to read. I would oftentimes find myself inspired with a story of my own just from reading. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I wanted to write. In high school, on Career Day, I even chose author as my career. I grew up in a small town in Oregon and there weren’t any known authors so I had to follow a newspaper journalist around for the day. That was the closest thing they could think of to my dream career.

   I now only live about twenty minutes from where I grew up and that same journalist still works at that same newspaper and he’s interviewed me a few times about my books.

   My grandma has over 30 years of proofreading experience, most of which was spent at that same newspaper. She actually does my editing for me on my books. We always get a good giggle at the irony whenever she proofs the paper and it has an interview with me in it.

   As much as I longed to write, even as a little girl, I equally wanted to be a mommy. So, when I got older, got married and had kids, I always told myself, “Someday.” As in, someday, when the kids are older or off to college or my husband was retired, THEN I would start writing.

   Funny thing about writing, as fellow authors will understand, when you get an idea, you can’t forget it. And it won’t leave you alone until you do something with it. Usually I would write it down and file it away. I was a young mom and had four kids in five years! Not much time for anything else, but I was content.

   Of course, there were those ideas that wouldn’t leave me alone, even after filing them away. So, I would eventually get them back out and do outlines of characters, storyline, etc. Usually, that would suffice. Usually, I could leave it alone after that. The voices would be quieted. (darn characters!)

   Until one day, there was another idea that would not leave me alone, even after doing all the outlines and everything! I even went so far as to doing chapter outlines, too! In the midst of this, my husband’s aunt died very suddenly at a young age of a heart attack. In the aftermath of the shock, I realized that my ‘someday’ had come.

   I am a Christian and God was a strong factor in my decision to pursue my dream. So, with our youngest child only being a little over a year old, I started writing at nights when they were in bed. I’ve always been a night owl so the late hours didn’t bother me. I love being a wife and mother and was determined my writing would not interfere…it took me five years to complete that first manuscript. And then I sat on it. I had no idea where to go or what to do with it next. I knew I wanted to publish it, but how?

   My husband has always been extremely supportive of my writing and came home from work one day and told me a co-worker of his had published on Amazon. Through him, I was able to make contact with her and she, a stranger, came over and helped me through the process on Amazon!

   I now have two books published through Amazon, “Matters of the Heart” (the manuscript I sat on for over a year! J) and “Marcus & Lyric”, both of which are in paperback and on Kindle.

   They are both Christian romance, but I am working on other genres. It seems I am always
working on something!

   My usual process, after all of the outlines are made, is to handwrite out my manuscripts, then
go back and edit as I type it out. It feels and sounds more like ‘me’ when I do it that way. When I
start off on the computer, it just doesn’t sound right, somehow. Although, I do have one manuscript in the works that I started on the computer on a fluke and it’s been pretty interesting. I’m actually thinking of posting an excerpt sometime soon to get some feedback.

   Other than writing and being a wife and mother, I enjoy singing. I sing on one of three worship teams at our church. My husband is also musical and he leads the music for that team by playing the keyboard and singing whenever his work schedule allows. It’s a lot of fun being able to do something with my husband that we both enjoy.

   Anyone can find me on Facebook under Corinna M. Dominy and follow me on twitter @corinnam.dominy. I enjoy getting to know other authors and am looking forward to getting more connected!

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Twilight Comparison...Seriously?

Yes, there was a whole horde of "Twilight Knockoffs" after the series hit the big time, but there are a lot of authors out there who are getting pretty tired of The Twilight Comparison

I know I'm not alone in this. In fact, I'll give you a list at the end of the post of authors who's books have been compared to Twilight despite the fact that they are nothing even close to sparkly vampires. 

I've gotten this comparison more than one. I will admit that when Zander sneaks into Ivy house at night and watches her sleep because it's the only time he can pretend she's dead and she doesn't stir his hunger like when she's awake, there are some Twilight-esque attributes to that scene, but the goal of these scenes were pretty much the complete opposite of Edward and Bella. Zander, at this point in the story, is obsessed... like unhealthy, creepy, weird obsessed. He's watching a girl sleep for crying out loud! Sure, he thinks he's in love, but most readers get the concept that this is very wrong and Zander has crossed a line. In Twilight it's supposed to be sweet, or romantic, or whatever, although in reality it should seriously disturb a girl. 

Many of my other books have been dubbed "Twilight-ish" as well, for much more insignificant reasons. It's frustrating. It's annoying. It makes you wonder what on earth the reader is seeing when they read your book. The fact is, Twilight is what made tons of girls and women start reading again or for the first time, which is awesome. If Twilight is the book that turned on that love of reading, sure it's going to be the book you compare every other book to when you're reading. I get that, but don't judge a book solely on that one point. 

A book is not "like Twilight" just because it has: 
  • Characters meeting for the first time during school hours. Particularly if there happens to be a science class involved. Trust me, Bella and Edward were not the first, and they will not be the last. 
  • A sense of "lust at first sight." Again, this is a fairly time honored tradition in YA. Let's face it, teens are hormonal and driven by physical attractiveness in most of their relationships.
  • Romantic moments set in scenes similar to Twilight. Many characters have kissed at dances, in the forest, in a house, in car, etc. Characters kiss in all kinds of places, in real life and fiction. Don't be so surprised if one happens to get repeated in two different books. 
  • Something paranormal. Sure, anything with vampires or werewolves is going to get compared to Twilight. Hard to avoid. But angels? Demons? Native American myths come to life? A girl destined to destroy the world? Aztec curses? Twilight does not have the paranormal market completely to itself. 
  • Romance in general. Some books get accused of being too much like Twilight simply because there are romantic elements. At all. Teens do tend to fall in love, or think they have anyway. There's a good chance any YA book you pick up will have some romance at some point. 
  • An insecure girl who doesn't see her own beauty or an overbearing guy who thinks he knows best. Many teenage girls have self-esteem issues. Many teenage boys think they are pretty macho and have everything under control. This is true in real life and fiction. True, Bella took it to the extreme, hence the accurately dubbed "Bella Swan Syndrome" readers got tired of. Even so, these are common personality traits you'll see in YA fiction, not copycats of Twilight. 
  • Life or death situations. Most really captivating novels, YA or not, are going to have a moment where your favorite character might die. Sometimes they should die (at least one secondary character in Twilight should have died, IMO). Just because one character has to save another doesn't mean the author is trying to mimic Edward saving Bella for the eleventy-millionth time. 
Of course, if you're comparing a book to Twilight because you honestly think it's a book Twilight readers will like, that's fabulous, and we appreciate the recommendation. Kirkus Reviews did exactly that for Wicked Hunger, and Kim Finn's Book of Shade received a similar recommendation. 

So, want to know what other authors have had to deal with this? I've made a handy list for you. Check them out and make the call for yourself! 

DelSheree Gladden - most recently... Wicked Hunger, but most of my books have gotten this at some point. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fan Mail!

One of my lovely Wattpad readers was so sweet to share her version of cover art for Wicked Hunger. Check out Jazz Monroe's stylings!

Thank you Jazz! They look amazing!

If you'd like to read Wicked Hunger, it's FREE! In ebook anyway ;) 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday Writers: Quincy J Allen

Today I'm welcoming Quincy J Allen!

It was literally a bright sunny morning on July 15th, 2009, when my career in Information Technology came to an end. It was accompanied by the requisite screeching tires, crushing metal, and burning fuel. Picture a ’75 Lincoln full of gasoline cans driving full-tilt-boogie straight into a concrete overpass support, and you’ll get the idea.

I got laid off from a QA Manager position of five years—a position that had paid pretty well, I don’t mind saying. I’d even known it was coming months ahead of time—my boss and I had that kind of relationship—but even as they slid a severance check and a piece of paper listing stock options and a mountain of unused vacation time across the table, I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was going to do next. 

Seventeen years in IT had chewed me up and spat me out.

So, paper in hand, I went home to an empty house where months before events had conspired to make me a “separated” person rather than a married one. Okay, it wasn’t events, it was me and the ex (who is still a very good friend of mine) conspiring to grow up and discovering we made better friends than spouses.
You know that cliché about sitting in an empty house listening to a clock tick?

It’s not a cliché.

I actually did that.

I believe it’s the ticking that helps one think. There’s something about being perfectly conscious of time passing that grants better clarity when looking inward. It’s like a spotlight… or a magnifying glass… or even a laser cutting through all the bullshit straight to your soul. Yeah, that’s the one… a laser burning everything away until you’re left with a naked self, a pale child screaming in the darkness, curled up into a ball on a cold floor. 

Did I mention why I got into IT? I didn’t want to be a starving artist for the rest of my life. Well, someone else didn’t want me to be a starving for artist the rest of my life, and no, it wasn’t my ex. This goes way back. 

So, there I sat, the clock ticking, a screaming child surrounded by darkness fixed solely in the center of my mind’s eye, and then something happened that I didn’t expect. The child went silent. It slowly rose from the ground and looked straight back at me. It gave me one resolute nod, turned, and walked into the darkness of uncertainty.

You see, I’d been miserable for seventeen years, day in and day out—grinding someone else’s wheat as I like to say—and in the time it takes for a piece of paper to slide across a table, it all changed. I understand now that it was catharsis… it was freedom… it was self-discovery and so much more. 
Five days later, I started writing Chemical Burn, a light sci-fi detective noir where an alien ex-government assassin turns private detective in L.A. 

I had six months of life left in the severance, stock options, and back vacation time. After that, I’d be broke, bankrupt, and—at the very best—scraping by. What I realized as that child disappeared into the shadows was that I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer. I will die a writer, and if I die starving, I’ll at least die happy. Two months and 144,000 words after that, I had my first novel. That novel placed in the Colorado Gold Fiction contest the following year.

Who I had been and who I was becoming were two entirely different people. One could argue that my career had contributed to my divorce, but I realize now that it was always me… pretending to be someone I’m not. The dissolution of that marriage was merely a manifestation of the dissolution of a mask I’d worn for far too long. I can also say that I was fortunate to have been involved with a partner who understood, and forgave, and who to this day still has my back… and vice versa. 

That was five years ago.

I can’t say it’s been easy. I’ve been paycheck to paycheck working a part-time job whilst producing anthologies and cranking out short stories and wrapping up a handful of novels. I got to cons. I work my ass off every day, sometimes twelve and fourteen hours in front of the computer doing “the next project.” I still don’t have health insurance, and the notion of savings is a goal, not a reality. But I can honestly say that every second, from that sunny July morning to now, has been fulfilling. 

I’ve been happy... truly, deeply, fundamentally… perhaps for the first time since I was a child.

I even have a tribe now, a group of writers who look at the world with eyes similar to my own. I express my creativity on a daily basis. I make things—stories and places and people—and I put them out there in hopes that at least some small part of the world might enjoy them… might derive at least a few moments of escape from grinding someone else’s wheat.

And after five years, I have a fair amount to show for my labors. 

On the 11th of June… today, in fact… I’m officially releasing Penny Dread Tales IV, the fourth annual installment of steampunk short stories from all over the world. Those four volumes were good enough to get a publisher interested in producing a “Best of Penny Dread.” That’s a big deal.

Additionally (and also today) 7DS Books is releasing a collection of my own short stories in a volume entitled Out Through the Attic. I bill myself as a cross-genre author, and this collection is a reflection of that. It’s got short stories from a number of different publications as well as a few previously unpublished ones, and it includes sci-fi, steampunk, fantasy, horror, and paranormal.

Twisted Core Press asked me to write them a novel, so I’m working on a military sci-fi story full of powered armor and mental abilities that should be out by late summer or early fall. 
Chemical Burn—that first novel I mentioned—has been picked up by WordFire Press, and they’re interested in my steampunk novel Jake Lasater: Blood Curse. 

All the hard work… all the uncertainty… every moment wondering if I’d simply lost my mind five years ago… it’s starting to bear fruit. I can only hope that the next five years are as fulfilling as the past five have been, and that along the way I can entertain more and more people with this wild compulsion to put words on a page.

If you’re interested, you can always find me at or on FaceBook at, doing what I do.

I hope to see you soon, and here’s to the future: chasing dreams and dying happy.

Monday, June 9, 2014

What's with all the weird names?

How many times have you read a book with names you have no clue how to pronounce, so you find yourself renaming characters and places in your head? 

I've done this plenty of times, in some of my favorite series, even. 

All of the words in my lovely picture to the left contains names of people or places from real books, many of which I have read, few of which I can actually pronounce. I have read too many The Legend of Drizzt Series books to accurately remember a specific count, but I will always pronounce his name as "Drits" because even in my head, I can't pronounce "Drizz-it" without stumbling over it every single time. Even though I now know how to pronounce Hermione from the Harry Potter Series, my mom pronounced it as "Her-me-O-nee" through four books and it occasionally still creeps into my head when I see the name. 

I was recently asked "What's with all the weird names?" in regards to my Twin Souls Saga books, which got me to thinking about names created for fictional characters and places. For my series and plenty of others, the names used come from real places or people.The tough to pronounce names in Twin Souls are actual Native American names I chose to use in order to accurately retell myths or create an atmosphere that fit the Pueblo storyline. The same goes for names like Bageera in The Jungle Book, Thénardiers from Les Misérables, and many other names in historical fiction. 

Other names, I have to admit, really don't need to be that complicated. I couldn't pronounce half the city or title names in Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time Series, and I'd rather just say "Dream World" instead of Tel'aran'rhiod. Even though names like Tel 'aran 'rhiod certainly help to create a completely unique world, authors need to realize that readers are going to go with whatever they can pronounce easiest. 

If you're fine with that, then by all means, create those kinds of names all you want. If you don't want readers changing things up, strive for unique without being impossible to pronounce. Even though I have no clue how Al 'cair 'rahienallen is supposed to be pronounced, Robert Jordan did a great job with making many of the character names easy, yet unique by changing a common name like "Matthew" to "Matrim." (Who, by the way is my favorite character from the series.)

There's a fine balance between unique and pushing readers to rename your carefully chosen names for characters, places, and objects. I knew many of the traditional words in my Twin Souls Saga would be tough to pronounce and readers may end up coming up with easier to handle names. I'm okay with that, because the other option was changing names that are honored by many Native American cultures, and that wasn't something I wanted to do. So, even though authors are famous for agonizing over names, there's more to consider than just what a name means and whether it has the right connotation. 

What characters or places have you renamed while reading? 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday Writers: The Kickoff! (DelSheree Gladden)

Welcome to the Wednesday Writers Series! 

I'm very excited to kick off this new adventure, but before I get to my main post, I wanted to explain a little about the series. 

The fabulous Gina Larson also made this logo for the series!

My lovely friend and aspiring writer, Gina Larson, sent me a link to an author's profile that read more like a character out of an erotic novel than a profile. It got me to thinking. How often to readers actually get to know something real about authors they enjoy? This series will stray from the pat author bios "So and so was born in ..." and stay away from unrealistic portrayals. We want to know the person behind the words, why they write, what they care about, and who they really are. So I'm here to kick off the series. I hope you all enjoy getting to know more about some amazing established and up-and-coming authors!


One question that authors get asked more than almost any other is, "Why do you write?" Let's face it, writing isn't easy. It takes a lot of hard work. There is tons of rejection. Literally, tons. It can take years and years to ever get noticed or feel like you've accomplished something. There are easier hobbies to indulge. So why do it? Ask most any writer, and I guarantee there's an answer deeper than what you were expecting. 

So what is my reason? 

At first, it may sound like what a lot of writers might say. I was a ridiculously shy kid. Answering questions in elementary school gave my anxiety attacks. I didn't speak unless I absolutely had to. As I got older I grew out of some of my shyness, but certainly not all of it. I loved reading and could spend hours upon hours getting lost in someone else's world. Like I said, this may sound like what dozens of other writers might say. My shyness and love of reading are part of why I starting writing, but not all of it. The reason behind my bottomed out self-confidence was the biggest reason. 

My dad and I have always been close, but I knew from a young age that it was different with my mom. I honestly can't tell you why she despised me so much, but I knew without a doubt that she didn't like me. It showed in the way she treated me on a daily basis. She told me constantly that I was jealous of my siblings and that was why any fight that broke out between me and my little brother or sister was my fault. If I wanted to participate in an activity outside the home that required her to drive me somewhere, she made sure I knew what an inconvenience it was. There were times when I would ask for something for a birthday or Christmas and she would get it for my sister instead. I rarely received anything from her without there being a hidden cost. Everything took a back seat to what she wanted. 

My mother was like this to all my siblings on some level, but I certainly seemed to take the brunt of it. She was unstable and manipulative, and caused a lot of hurt to our family before eventually leaving. My mother and I no longer speak, because she was not a good influence on me or my children. I don't want to harp on my mom, because I hope one day she realizes her mistakes and lives a better life. I am sharing this with you because I know many kids grow up with emotionally abusive people in their lives, and I understand how damaging that can be. It changes your perception of yourself. It changes what you think you are capable of. It can determine how your life turns out if you let it. 

I was lucky to have had a few wonderful friends like Amy Brimhall and Melissa Caston who were always supportive and reminded me of my worth. They kept me from giving in to the belief that I was undeserving of others attention. They were the ones to help me realize that my potential had nothing to do with what my mom thought of me. 

So, aside from loving the written word and feeling more comfortable expressing my thoughts on paper than in any other form, I write because I want to share something with my readers. It doesn't matter what situation you were born into, stumble into, or are forced into. No one else is allowed to determine your self-worth or your potential. There are times when you may not be able to get away from the kind of people who want to tear you down, but there are always others who will do everything they can to build you up. Seek them out. Sometimes you have to be that person for yourself, and then when you're able, be that person for someone else. 

Thank you for taking the time to stop by the kick off of Wednesday Writers. I hope you to come back every Wednesday to meet a new author and get a glimpse of the person behind the words. 

And because writers are shameless self-promoters, here's where you can find my books. If you want to connect on social media, just search "DelSheree" and you'll find me. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Double standard in romance?

How many romance novels have you read where the attraction was instant? 

How any times was it the woman who fell head over heels withing the first ten pages? How many times was it the guy who fell first? 

I'm going to make an educated guess based on my own reading and say, by far, its much more common for the female lead to get gooey-eyed over the debonair man she stumbled into while the guy remains aloof or even just a little bit antagonistic. 


Is it realistic that only women feel that kind of instant attraction, or at least an instant interest in members of the opposite sex? Hardly. If we're talking about falling in lust, let's be honest. It's pretty equal for men and women to see someone attractive and stare just for a minute and maybe imagine what if... 

Let's get back to love, though, or at the very least, genuine romantic interest. Why is it perfectly acceptable for women for fall at first sight, but less so for men? Where did this double standard come from? Guys can be struck by that twitchy feeling that they just can't help wanting to get to know a women they met just as easily as a woman can. It doesn't even have to be that they ran into a supermodel at the grocery store. It could simply be someone who had an intriguing smile, or did something unexpected. What if the woman is simply not what they were expecting? 

Now, I know I'm fairly new to the world of romance novels, as my very first contemporary romance was just released last month, and I know there are a good deal of expectations and rules about HEA (happily ever after) and HFN (happy for now) endings and such, but I've always been the kind of writer who likes to bend the rules a bit. 

I don't like writing based on a set formula. If my books have a happy ending, it's not because I set out to write an HEA, but because that was where the characters took me. Not all my characters get their happily ever after. I'm not afraid to kill people off when I need to, and I'm not going to hold back a character's interest in someone because it doesn't follow the norm. 

In Date Shark, Eli doesn't instantly fall in love with Leila, but he is intrigued by her right from the start. He wants to get to know her because she's different. She catches his attention. When Eli spends his days piecing back together broken couples and trying his best to help socially crippled women, a woman who is sweet and charming and a little bit perplexing is going to stand out. Of course, it doesn't hurt that she's pretty, but there's more to Leila than meets the eye and Eli wants to find out what that is. 

So, my question is, does it put readers off when an author breaks from the status quot? Or does a fresh twist keep them reading? Is it a different answer in romance than in other genres?