I don’t follow the rules. Not many of them anyway. When it comes to writing, I like to push the envelope and explore darker things, scary things, taboo things, and just…whatever I’m wondering about. Because I can. My villains aren’t always evil, just screwed up. Sometimes my heroes are screwed up too, but they ultimately make better choices and try to be better people. Perfect heroes and heroines? You won’t find them in my stories!
Romance novels have changed over the past few decades. Love is still the key theme but how the characters find love is now vastly different than in the stories my grandmother would read. The characters themselves are different, even in current historical novels where a heroine was not allowed a certain privileges in their time period. Times have changed. The way we view women and relationships in our society has changed. The rigid rules of the past have changed. Everything changes, including the steam levels of romance novels. There are still the sweet, slow burn love stories with mild or alluded to intimate scenes. Then there are the stories like the ones I write, where the love is deep and the passionate scenes are burning hot and explicit.
In Bear’s Edge, book 2 of the Stranger Creatures series (coming September 26th 2017), Grant is the smart, sexy hero. Unlike the typical romance heroes of the dark ages, Grant respects women and views them as equals. He’s a big guy, built like a brick house, but using his size to intimidate is not his go-to strategy for life. He’s hot and sweet with a mysterious edge, and Shayla finds that combination intriguing. The intense looks he’s been giving her are getting harder to ignore. Only one problem with following up on those heated looks- Shayla is Grant’s boss.
She’s been the star of Grant’s fantasies since the two met. She is capable, smart, and strong, and he likes that about her. But he hesitates. After losing everybody he loved in a fire six years prior, Grant has only recently started to care whether he’s still in the land of the living. Can he keep things with Shayla platonic or will he risk everything for a chance at more? They’ve both got some strange secrets that could either keep them apart or help them build a bond that will carry them through any hellish challenge life throws at them.
Hot, gritty, with a little bit of sweet – that’s my style. There will always be critics who don’t like your particular style, whether it’s your work, your clothes, your career, your gender preferences, or your life choices, but if your style works and you’re happy, then KEEP IT!
Some writers prefer rigid formatting. They adopt a style in which every sentence must be structured in a way that would make their English Lit. professor proud. The adherence to all the rules laid out for them is their safe place. That’s not my preference. Bending a few rules adds a little flavor. Good grammar is important. Readers need to understand what’s going on in the story, but there’s no need to be afraid to start a sentence with the word “it” (just make sure you clarify what “it” refers to) or end with a preposition. Fragments are fun too. Bending the traditional rules here and there helps keep a story, a career, a life from being staid and stagnant.
Do what you like and make it work for you. Push the envelope. Some critics may not like your style, but if you write for them, then you won’t like your style.