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

 

What can Novelist Learn from the Movies?

I recently read the book Save the Cat by Blake Snyder , a must have for screenwriters and all story tellers. As I’ve been reading, and going over notes from my last conference, I realize there is much we can learn from TV and movies.

  1. Dialogue: This is the most obvious of course, but TV/Movies are littered with good, and bad, dialogue. It is a great way to hear what works and what doesn’t. Aprilynne Pike recently said that she thinks her writing is better when watching Gilmore Girls. I agree it is a witty show that does a great job with dialogue. And as writers, I think it’s important to read our dialogue out loud to help edit our work.
  1. Plotting: Because of the short length of movies (in comparison to sitting down and reading an 80,000 word novel), movies are a great way to look at the plot of a story and see what works. Most movies follow a formula, and those that don’t struggle. Blake Snyder goes over plotting in his book for screenwriting, and it mirrors a lot of what I’ve read from other writing books as well. Usually you can watch the major plot points happen like clockwork.
  1. Characters: Watching Pulp Fiction and seeing how Quentin Tarantino makes two drug addicted hit-men likeable is amazing. Whether creating an anti-hero or making secondary characters memorable (I think of Second Hand Lions), TV and movies are great examples.

So don’t feel guilty next time your binge watching your favorite series. Think about what makes the show work for your or where it can improve. Ignore the guilt and chalk it up to homework.