Tag Archives: Romance novel

Learning from someone else’s mistakes – How to NOT write a novel

I’ve been reading a lot of romance novels lately. Not because it is my favorite genre, but to help strengthen my skills in writing inner-thought and making an emotional connection between the reader and the character.

I recently read a book that was AWESOME at this.  I was totally engaged. I liked the heroine. I cared about her. I liked the hero even more. They were both complex characters with faults that drove their characterization, and I completely believed them and felt like part of their lives. It was everything I wanted in a novel. This author totally deserved the “bestselling author” splash on her advertising.

At the end of the novel, there was one of those lovely magic buttons nice and handy so I could buy the next book.

Did I buy the next book? No.

Wasn’t I interested in the story? Didn’t I want to know more?

Yes. I totally did. I was ready to stay up late and read more.

So why didn’t I buy the next book?

The author, despite being incredibly talented, lost my trust. The story was not complete. Not by a long shot.

The heroine is being threatened by her brother and a former boyfriend who raped her. She had been in hiding for years, but they found her. She needs to go home and face them because her mother is dying. The hero of the story agrees to go home with her so she is not alone. BAM. It’s over. If you want to see what happens, you need to buy the next book. There isn’t even a neat, tidy closing thought to make the novel feel like it ended, like “I would be fine, I knew I would be fine because we would face this together.”

Nope—a closing line like that was not there. The chapter just ended, and the next page prompted you to buy the next book.


Now, if this had been a free read, I totally would have cut the author some slack. I would have purchased the next book. Call me snobby, but I expect a story to be complete when I pay $5.00 for it.

But maybe I was wrong. Maybe I misunderstood. So I checked to make sure there was not a worded warning like “part one” that I overlooked.

Nope. Nada.

I went from being a wildly enthusiastic fan to a lukewarm, disappointed reader in a matter of seconds.

But the novel was great. Why wouldn’t you buy the next one?

Like I said, she has lost my trust. Will the next book finish the story, or will I be prompted to buy another book? I don’t know. I cannot trust that I will ever see a satisfying ending.

For now and probably forever, I will see this author’s name and red flags will pop up all over the place.

Why not just tell the truth?

Now, if it was stated up front that this was an add-on series, a work in progress available in installments (and priced at $.99 rather than $5.00 each) I would have totally slipped the next book in my cart. In fact, I think that’s an awesome idea.

But you just need to be honest about it.

Don’t lie to your readers.

Would I recommend this book? No. Absolutely not.

I sure did learn from it, though.

What would you think if you finished a book, and it totally left you hanging… Holding you ransom until you paid to find out what happened?


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Don’t sleep with him/her? Rule #19 of 32 Simple Rules to the Writing the Best Novel Ever


I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript.  Yep, you can join in the fun, too.  Let’s take a looksee at topic #19

19: Don’t allow characters who are sexually attracted to one another the opportunity to get into bed. Unless at least one of them has a jealous partner.

Umm…. What?

I’m staring at this, and trying to think about novels that were good, where there was a little bedroom time, but no jealous lover.

I have to admit… there are a lot… and they are fine. A sexual triangle just is not the main conflict of the story.

Sometimes the strong relationship between two characters makes the overall conflict (not necessarily a jealous partner) a deeper conflict, because the characters really care about each other.

Maybe Allen Guthrie has never read a romance novel? Maybe he just doesn’t like to read bedroom scenes?

What’s your take on this?


Related articles

A Review of “The Romance Novel Book Club” by Kastil Eavenshade

After crying my eyes out over the last novel I read, I REALLY needed a light fun read. I’d heard great things about “The Romance Novel Book Club” so I decided to give it a whirl. It ended up being a combination of everything I wanted, and also what I was trying to avoid.

Very mild spoiler alert: I will try not to give too much away.

“The Romance Novel Book Club” starts out as a whimsical story told in a great voice. We have a woman who reads a lot of Romance novels, and is looking for a whirlwind relationship like that in real life. The comparisons she makes to romance novels are truly hysterical, and for quite a long time I was reading with a smile on my face.

Then…. There was this shift.

Same girl. Same plotline, but after messing up her umteenth relationship, she begins dealing with an addiction problem that was a bit disturbing to me.

Addiction of every kind makes me want to yack. I find it truly sad that anyone could become totally dependent on anything. (Other than chocolate… that’s okay in my book. 🙂 )

Anyway… same great voice… same joking… but I began to seriously dislike the main character. At one point, she picks on a wayward waiter that she sets up as the “bad guy” – Normally I would have thought of this person as the bad guy, too… but I just ended up feeling sorry for him. I was considering stopping reading, until – quite to my surprise – the character admitted to her friend that she thought she might have an addiction.

For some reason, that admission – and also having the warm and fuzzy that the author MEANT me to have all those uncomfortable feelings, made me feel better. So I kept reading.

Thanks goodness that from that point forward, things started to get better. Once she had admitted to the addiction, she had the will to try to fight it, and I started to like her again.

So, yes, this is a book that will put a smile on your face, but it will also scare you a little bit. The author tackles a very serious subject. This is NOT a Romance novel. You might consider it an Anti-Romance novel. But there is a romance in it as well… and a happy ending, thank goodness.

Oh… and this is DEFINITELY for the 18 and over crowd.

Scratch that. 21 and over.

Maybe 25 and over.

Not for the kiddies. Get it?


#Free #ebooks FOR EVERYONE! “A Hint of Frost” by Hailey Edwards #freestuff


Yay!  It’s Freebee Fridays time!

First of all, congrats to last week’s winner Jamie Ayers

You’ve won a free copy of THE ROMANCE NOVEL BOOK CLUB by Kastil Evenshade in PDF format.

If you’d like to find out more about Kastil and the gads of books she’s had published, hop on over to http://kastil.wordpress.com/

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Last week we had half-naked and half-headed men.  What are you going to do to me this week?

Oh, you are going to love this one. 

This week Hailey Edwards is coming over! 

Alien Huh CloseWho?


Come on!  Wake up and smell the Fantasy.  She’s awesome!

PKO_Alien 3 0003387You think everyone is awesome.

Do you say nice things about me too when I’m not listening?

Umm, yeah, sure I do!  🙂  Trust me.  You’re going to love this one.  Invite her in.  Remember to smile.

Alien SmileAlrighty Fantasy Lady.  Come on in and sit for a spell.  Oh!  Sorry about that ray gun.  I have a blog to take over later.

Okay.  Comfy? Why do you look scared?  So… Who are you and what do you want?

I’m Hailey, and—at this moment—I want a caramel frappe.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Oh!  I actually like those.

How Yummy!

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Psst, Jennifer, we like the same drink!


That’s good.  You’re building rapport. 

Keep going!

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Okay… Ms. Edwards… What makes you think you book is good enough to read?  I don’t get this Fantasy stuff.

I won’t say it’s good enough, but it’s different.

Sometimes that makes all the difference.

Alien SmileYes!  Like Blue hair!  Very vogue.

Does anyone have silver faces and beautiful blue hair like me?

Sorry, no.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387No blue hair?

Then why would anyone want to read it?

Why would anyone want to eat chocolate?

It’s pleasurable.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387It’s pleasurable!

That means that lots of things explode!

I’m afraid not.

A few people were decapitated, though.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387That’s a little harsh.  I’ve never decapitated anyone, but I did tie up the curly haired chic that runs this blog once.  That was fun.

Thanks for the reminder. 

I still have burn marks from the ropes. 

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Okay, so other than decapitation what’s your book about?


Frost is the story of Lourdes and Rhys, who enter into an arranged marriage for the sake of their clans.

Each has something the other wants, and in the process of getting it, they fall in love.

Aided in no small part by fangs, silk, and liberal doses of venom.

Alien Huh CloseDo you know you are the first author on here that hasn’t answered that question like they were reading off the back of their book?  Kudos too you!

Well, thanks.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387You’re right, Jennifer.

I like this one so far.

Me Too! 

Keep interviewing. 

Alien SmileMs. Edwards, Have you ever exploded anything?

I wanted to try the Mentos and Diet Coke geyser because it looked cool.


Alien SmileOh!  I tried that once!  Don’t do it in Jennifer M. Eaton’s living room though.  She gets mad. Have you ever tried to take over the world?

 I thought about it, but it seemed to take more effort than it was worth. I mean, why not take over an island in the Caribbean instead?

Alien SmileWell, I hadn’t thought of that.  I like islands.  They’re pretty.  So, tell me, Have you ever painted your hair blue?

Painted, no. Speckled it, yes. When painting my daughter’s bedroom ceiling with a sky mural.

Alien SmileOh!  How wonderful!  Blue is a great color!

I do believe we have bonded!


Does that mean I can give away a copy of my book?

Alien SmileYes!  As a matter of fact, I think we should give away MANY MANY copies of your book!




Alien SmileI am going to electro-bolt over to Amazon dot com right now and explode their servers.  Yes!  That will make all copies of “A Hint of Frost” Free until they get a chance to fix it!

Umm, wait…

Too late she’s already gone. 

She’ll make good on that, too. She’s very, umm, tenacious.

If you’d like to get s free copy of A Hint of Frost zip over to Amazon right away before they get their servers up and running.  It’ll be free until their tech crew gets there, or they catch the Little Blue Lady for Mars. Hurry!

Catapult me to Amazon for a free ebook copy of “A Hint of Frost”

Thanks for having me… I think. 

Someone call Amazon and tell them to keep a lookout for a miniature silver woman with blue hair!

Thanks for being a good sport, Hailey!

If you’d like to find out more about Hailey Edwards and her books, hop on over to http://haileyedwards.net/

#FreeFridays featuring The Romance Novel Book Club by Kastil Evenshade #freestuff #free #ebook


Yay!  It’s Freebee Fridays time!

First of all, congrats to last week’s winner Grandfathersky

You’ve won a free copy of HUSH LITTLE BABY by Deborah M. Piccurelli in your choice of paperback or PDF.  If you want to know more about Deborah, Check out her web site here

PKO_Alien 3 0003387So, who’s coming this week.

I hope it’s someone fun.

Are you going to be nice this time?


Alien Huh CloseOf course!

I was nice to the last one.  I didn’t blow her up, did I?

Well, you were a little rude.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Piff!

I was a perfect little blue alien

Yeah, sure you were.

Okay, we’ll give this another go.  (Sorry Kastil)

Alien SmileYeeeees!  Okay, bring her on in!

Hello, oh nice author lady.  come in and sit down for a spell.  Comfy?  Good!

Okay. Who are you and what do you want?

My name is Kastil Eavenshade, and I want Pimpage…lots and lots of pimpage.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Umm.  Okay.  I don’t think the curly-haired conservative chic is going to let me get away with that.

You never know unless you try.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Psst, Jennifer, this one scares me.

You wanted to be an interviewer.  Just go with it.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Okay… Ms. Evenshade… What makes you think you book is good enough to read?  I mean Romance?  Really?

It’s good enough because it break the usual romance mold, beyond it having a bit of kink in it. I mean a romance novelist making fun of her craft?

Alien SmileCraft?

You mean there’s a spaceship?

Ummm, no.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Then why would anyone want to read it?

For the humor and love story within, of course!

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Sounds boring does anything explode?

Well that’s a loaded question. Something explodes but I won’t call it literal fireworks. 😉

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Ummm–Jennifer, I don’t think she and I are talking about the same thing.

Go with it.  You’re doing fine.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Okay, umm, I’m almost afraid to ask,

but what’s it about?

From the legendary times of the Victorian Age to the rugged reaches of outer space, the romance novels have done nothing to spark Patricia’s want and hope of finding that one special man to call her own. She’s knee deep into her thirties, near depression, and drowning her sorrows in pints of premium ice cream. When she falls for a waiter named Matt in her favorite restaurant, her insecurities do their best to thwart her plans of true love. It isn’t until she picks up one last romance novel that she realizes life cannot be lived within the ink splattered pages of an author’s fantasies. She has one chance to set her life straight and snatch the one man who gets her: mind and body.  Will Patricia take it?

Alien Huh CloseWhy do all these authors sound like robots when you ask them that question?

Stop it!  Be nice!

PKO_Alien 3 0003387I don’t like her.

She’s creepy.

She is not!  She just writes, umm, well, a little more openly than you’re used to.  Hey, the guy on the cover is cute.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387But he only has half a head!  See?  Creepy.

You just don’t get it, do you?  Okay, try to find something you guys have in common.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387[Grumbles] Have you ever exploded anything?

Nope. I don’t care for loud noises.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387You are hopeless.  Have you ever tried to take over the world?

Sounds like a lot of work so..nope!

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Hopeless and lazy!

Have you ever painted your hair blue?

I once had a midnight blue because I bought the wrong kind of black dye.

Alien SmileReally?  Well that sounds like fun.  I prefer a little brighter myself, but I must admit that blue is fun!  Maybe you’re not so bad after all.  So, if you are afraid of loud noises, have you at least fantasized about exploding anything?

Yes. It’s only natural to imagine something getting blown to a million pieces.

Alien SmileYes!  There is hope for her yet!  Okay, you kindred explosive spirit, I will allow you to give away a .pdf copy of this book with the creepy half-headed guy on the cover.  What’s it called again?

The Romance Novel Book Club

Alien SmileYeah, that.  And Jennifer promises to explain the half-naked man on the cover to me later.

So!  Get on with it readers!

Do you want to read about this girl and her half-naked half-headed man?  Start commenting!  One random commenter will receive a .pdf copy from this crazy kindred blue-haired thinking about explosion lady, Kastil Evenshade.

Thanks for coming, Kastil!  the winner will be chosen on Monday, so get commenting!

If you’d like to find out more about Kastil and the gads of books she’s had published, hop on over to http://kastil.wordpress.com/

Oh my gosh, I am such a wuss. I don’t think I can do this

Have you ever written something, thought it was great, but had second thoughts?  Ugh.  I am soooo there right now.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m working on a Paranormal called Une Variante.  I am a Fantasy writer at heart, but I like to stretch myself.  My first publication (Last Winter Red) is a Dystopian, and my second and third publications are contemporary “Sweet” Romances.

So why the second thoughts about Une Variante?  Well, the problem is that there is a heat rating.  It’s not kinky or anything, but there is definitely and “open door” to the bedroom.

Having always “faded to black” in the past, I am understandably nervous about this.  I have two people lined up to do a full beta on Une Variante as soon as it is complete. I’ve asked them because one looks for open door romances for her recreational reading, and the second is a writer of open door (and far worse kinkier stuff).

That aside….. Today, I sent the first ten pages to my local critique group.  You know what I did?


I CENSORED MYSELF. [Smacks head on desk]

What am I doing?  Ugh.  I just couldn’t send it out in its “True glory”.

Now, part of the problem is that the word count would have dropped them right in the middle of “the scene”.  I didn’t want my critique session to be just “about that”, and I was afraid it would deter from what I really wanted … which was a critique of the beginning.

I considered asking if anyone would find it offensive, and just send “the scene” to people who wanted to read it… but I wussed about that too.

I gotta admit that I also didn’t want to look into the eyes of people after them just having read “that”.  Ugh… I am such a wuss.

Part of me is hoping that the Romance Reader and Erotica Writer tell me that the heat scene stinks, because that would give me an excuse to fade it to black.

[smacking myself again]

Have you ever had second thoughts about something you’ve written?

Writing to a Deadline AGAIN? You betcha!

Yes, I placed myself in the clutches of a publisher’s deadline AGAIN.  I didn’t expect to. It wasn’t planned.  It just kind of happened.  Here’s the scoop…

About two months ago a writing buddy of mine Terri Rochenski announced that she was submitting to an anthology. I looked up the publisher.  They only did Romance.


I giggled.  Despite the fact that there was a romantic element in LAST WINTER RED, I knew that writing a straight Romance was not for me… and I was having so much fun blowing stuff up writing FIRE IN THE WOODS that I didn’t really want to take the time to start something new.

Anyway… A month later she put out feelers for beta readers.  A little niggle gnawed at my gut, poking and peeling until guilt set in.

The little writing demon inside me smacked me upside the head…  Who cares that it’s Romance!  You just missed an opportunity.

The overachiever in me flipped back to the publisher’s web-site. There were still five weeks until the submission date.

Five weeks…

Is that long enough to come up with a story, outline, write, beta, edit and submit?

Honestly… No it wasn’t.  Did I try anyway?


I’m not going to draw this out… I’ll cut to the chase and tell you that I have already submitted a story to this publisher within the timeframe, and I managed to get it in a week early.

So, How’d I do it?  Just to not make this post too long, I’ll tell you tomorrow.  Be there or be square!