CANDY HEARTS VERSUS BOW-CHICK-A-WOW-WOW guest post by Jami Gray

I’m excited to welcome Jami Gray to my humble abode. Congratulations are in order for her recently released tenth novel, MARKED BY OBSESSION (I’m in thrall with it right now). Today she’s come to talk about the heat level in romance, which is perfect for the month of February and because she’s got it down.

CANDY HEARTS VERSUS BOW-CHICK-A-WOW-WOW

In the romance genre stories run the gamut from sweet-handholding-blushes-demure-glances to wild-raunchy-OMG-can-a-body-really-do-that and everything in between. There is a huge variety in romance because our reading audience is composed of, well, a huge variety of humans.

When I first started my writing journey, I approached the daunting world of publishing with an Urban Fantasy series where romance played a secondary role. Of course, the majority of publishers wanted ROMANCE (yes, in all caps). So no surprise I received a plethora of rejection letters that shared a common theme: There’s not enough romance.

Some even went so far as to suggest I add a few heavy breathing scenes to up that elusive romance quotient. When you’re trying to get published, it’s very difficult not to buckle under the pressure, but I gritted my teeth, declaring my characters weren’t at that particular stage in their relationship, and kept going.  As a writer of UF and Paranormal Romantic Suspense, romance plays a crucial part in all my stories, but that romantic connection needs to come about naturally, not be forced through the bedroom door.

Long story short, I did get my UF series picked up, and yes, in the second book there is required ROMANCE. Not because that’s what my publisher wanted (they loved my story just the way it was), but because that is where my couple naturally ended up.

So why am I sharing this? Well, writers are victim to the “sex sells” mentality as much as any other artist. In fact, if you read a ton of romance you’ve witnessed it firsthand. There are those titles that are all about the sex with thin plots and even thinner character development. Then there are those stories where sex plays understudy to the relationship.

And then there are those that nail it. It’s like they find the perfect recipe of intriguing-heart-attack-inducing-story, suck-you-in-until-you’re-drowning depth of characters, and the breath-stealing-fantasy-inducing sex. These books aren’t always labeled erotica (though there are some really great series out there), but they are labeled romance. This is because the emotion behind why the characters we love fall into each other’s arms is something we can connect to and the evolution of their relationship feels real.

Romance readers read their genre because we are fascinated by the emotional aspect of human connections—how does the cynical heroine overcome past betrayals to take a chance on happiness with the hero she feels is out of reach, or how does the weary hero find peace in the arms of a strong woman. We want to see our flawed characters get their happy ever after. There is something so beautiful about two people finding each other despite what life’s thrown at them, that gives us, the readers, hope for the same out here in our crazy, everyday world.  And there’s not a darn thing wrong with that.

So the next time you encounter that person who rolls their eyes because you read romance, remember there is a depth to romance that goes beyond the bow-chick-a-wow-wow, and dives into the heart of what love really means.

MARKED BY OBSESSION

markedbyobsession_m

 

Some betrayals hide behind love, others obsession…

The loss of her beloved brother and a series of unexplained events plunges Meli Dwyer into a dangerously unfamiliar reality. Alone and floundering, she turns to the sexy and unsettling Wolf Kincaid, PSY-IV Team’s skilled telepath, for help even as her battered heart whispers to steer clear of a man more dangerous than what hunts her.

Will Meli find the answers to her personal nightmare before one man’s obsession costs her the heart of another?

Pick up your copy here:

MuseItUp Publishing: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/print-books/romance-print-books/romantic-suspense/marked-by-obsession-detail

Amazon: http://a.co/9WVE4Yw

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/marked-by-obsession-jami-gray/1125298655?ean=2940153541624

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/marked-by-obsession/id1184185022?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/marked-by-obsession

 

Want a sneak peak?

“That’s it angel. Keep going.” He watched, offering quiet encouragement until I was breathing normally. His hand stopped its gentle movements, but didn’t move away.

“Better?”

I nodded. “I’m sor—”

“Stop,” he growled, literally growled, as a fierce light made his eyes bright. “There is nothing to apologize for.”

Logically I knew that, but logic didn’t stand a chance against old habits.

He released my wrists and turned his hand to tangle his fingers with mine, giving me an anchor. “You up for continuing?”

He asked the question like I had a choice. Despite the evidence to the contrary, I wasn’t blind to the fact that I needed to share what had happened. If I could do that with Wolf, maybe it would dull the jagged edges of the memories. What worried me was sharing and then watching Wolf realize I wasn’t the type of woman he needed or wanted. Broken and barely mended didn’t hold a candle to strong and sure. Unable to look away, I slowly nodded.

“Okay.” The hand under my breasts disappeared and he rose to his feet, still holding my other hand. “You’re going to come sit with me on the couch. That way, we’ll both be more comfortable.”

Meli the Milquetoast I may be, but there was no way I was turning down a chance to be close to him while I could. Part of me warned to hoard the experience while I could because he wouldn’t be staying. Too battered emotionally, I chose to ignore the pessimistic voice. For now. He tugged on my hand, and I uncurled my legs and stood shakily, waiting for the pins and needles to fade. Wolf stood patient and quiet, waiting for me.

We moved to the couch. He sat down, reached up, and pulled me into his lap. His warmth was better than any blanket and being held in his arms against his solid chest gave me the illusion of protection. Nothing could touch me, so long as he held me. I tucked my head in the hollow of his shoulder. When his chin brushed my temple, I closed my eyes, gripped his wrist at my waist, and sank into him.

 

jami-gray

Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. She can be soothed with coffee and chocolate. Surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and two female labs moonlighting as the Fur Minxes, she escapes by playing with the voices in her head.

 

Hunt her down at:

Website: www.JamiGray.com

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.com/e/B006HU3HJI

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/JamiGray

Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/JamiGrayUFWriter

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/JamiGrayAuthor

Google+:  https://google.com/+JamiGray

 

LIFE AFTER NANO

By guest blogger, author, editor, and extraordinaire Jami Gray

You survived Nanowrimo, the hellish month of November, where you churned out words by the bucketful. You even made it to the final two—THE END, so now what? Do you drag battered fingers to the keyboard to carve out a synopsis and query letter, then attach both to your story and send the entire package winging off to a publisher or agent?

No! (Slapping at your sore, beleaguered digits) Step away from the keyboard, dear writer friend, exhaustion is playing tricks on your poor brain. You can’t forgo an important part of your creative process—the honing of your story.

You wouldn’t present a semi-cooked egg for consumption just because your caffeine fix hasn’t kicked in, right? Then don’t serve the same to a prospective agent or publisher.

The point of presenting your pretty package of story, query, and synopsis to the alters of publishers or agents, is to share your polished gem of beautiful craftsmanship when it’s at its best. This will elicit “ohhs” and “awws” of stunned amazement from said alter deities, and, if the fates are kind, culminate with a blessing of a contract.

This is not to say your story treasure isn’t beautiful, but if you set it aside during the merry month of wintery celebration, revisit it during the dawning of the new year, and then humbly offer it to your support group of choice (critique, beta readers, editors), you may discover that what appeared beautifully concocted in November, could bypass “beautiful” and rocket to “brilliant” with a little polishing here and there.

Take the time to let your story mature, let others sample it, and gauge the reactions. Did your plot twist sneak up on your test readers, or were they faced with it straight out of the gate? Was the emotional journey of your main character fraught with realistic peril, or were the challenges faced not cruel enough to bring them to their knees before raising them higher than before? Did you add an extra arm in that fight scene? Did a character change hair color or personality without explanation?

When we spend a month snuggled up to our story, it’s hard to see the little things, like the fact it prefers to stay in PJs all day long and eat chocolate bonbons, while expecting you to clean the house for impending company.  Taking a step back and a deep breath will ensure your darlings won’t need your constant support to shine. In fact, giving them space is necessary for them to find their inner core of brilliance and shine their creative light upon unsuspecting agents and publishers, luring them into a long-lasting relationship.

Nanowrimo isn’t the end, my writer friends, it’s simply the beginning of an exciting new journey, so like all good adventurers, be sure you’ve prepared accordingly.

Wicked Dragon Writer Solutions, where you get two editing beasts for one smokin’ price.

Edits that live beyond your story…

As editors who strive to teach, your Wicked Dragons supply high quality edits that can help your future writing endeavors.

Wicked Dragon Writing SolutionsEmail:   wickeedragonsolutions@gmail.com

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