By the time you read this it will be the day after Valentine’s Day, and I spent yesterday agonizing about what to write.
This angst over Valentine’s Day and romance is not unfounded. My first book was a romance. In Passion’s Defense was about a defense lawyer falling in love with a prosecutor during a gruesome trial. That should have been my first clue that perhaps mayhem rather than meet ups was my cup of tea. But I was slow on the uptake, and I wrote eight category romances. I think they are pretty darn good and they got better with each one. I wrote my heart out for Harlequin but I couldn’t seem to color in the lines, so I started writing women’s fiction. The editorial freedom, the more intricate plot lines, and the emphasis on plot rather than relationship helped me thrive. Dreams, Seasons, Vanities were just some of my titles. I wrote a lot of women’s fiction, but still I hadn’t hit my comfort zone as a writer. Then two things happened that sealed my fate.
First, the incredible RWA bookseller—Michelle Thorne—delicately informed me that my idea of romance was the hero chucking the heroine on the arm and giving her a smile. She was right. I was not a sexy writer in the years when other authors were pushing the envelope. My editor at Kensington was more direct. He said ‘You have to stop killing people before they get in bed!’. In essence he fired me from romance. I was devastated. Later I realized this was the silver lining in my very dark cloud.
When I started writing thrillers I found my passion and isn’t passion what love is all about? Still, without the learning curve of the romance genre, without the editors and readers, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to break up with women’s fiction as it was defined all those years ago and move on to my literary partner for life.
That doesn’t mean I left romance behind completely. Every book I write is based on relationships, but the emphasis of stories is little different from the classic romance novel. And then there’s my mom. One day she asked if I could write a book-without-bodies. I wrote three. On my mother’s ninetieth birthday, I presented her with a trilogy of sweet, romantic comedies: The Day Bailey Devlin’s Horoscope Came True, The Day Bailey Devlin Picked Up a Penny and the Day Bailey Devlin’s Ship Came in. These books encompassed every thing I love about romance: humor, honesty, confusion, honor, and affection for not just one man but all the men in Bailey’s life. Young or old, they be a lover or father or friend, it was all about love. I will always be most proud of, be in love with, the Bailey Devlin Trilogy because it reflects my definition of romance.
Today I put those three books in a boxed set and I hope when a reader finishes the stories, her (his) heart will be fuller, there might be a tear in her eye, she will have laughed out loud and then will turn around and pass all that feeling on to someone she loves.
Happy Belated Valentine’s Day.
When was the last time you wrote a letter?
After six weeks of Lent and the booming joy of Easter, I’ve got love on my mind. Not just the cute, mushy stuff that most of our acquaintances seem to think we write about. 😉 But love with power and strength and purpose, the kind of love that changes people and changes lives.
I’ve been thinking about a sermon I heard recently where the pastor told a story about an elderly woman who was kidnapped and forgave her kidnapper, asking the judge to get the man into a drug rehab program. The pastor said what I often think – I’d like to think I would be that forgiving. But he also said the other thing I think when I hear these stories – I’ll probably never be in a position to know.
So he challenged us to something else. Don’t worry about loving your enemies today. Start with something easier. “How about if this week you just try to love the annoying people in your life?”
And it occurred to me that that just might be harder.
Then he said, “When you get so you can love the annoying people, take a step up and try to love the irritating people.”
Ouch. I think I’d rather try to love the kidnapper. At least I can blame it on the drugs and believe in his potential rehabilitation.
And then I started thinking about my writing. If I can’t personally love the annoying and irritating people I come across on a daily basis, how can I write about people with a dozen layers – no, a hundred layers – of relational emotion? Because that’s who we all are – people with uncountable layers of emotion covering hundreds of different relationships in each of our lives.
Love is the emotion that packs a punch. It’s active. It changes things. It changes people.
Love changes us.
We’re romance writers. But do we love the annoying and irritating people in our lives, let alone our enemies? If not, how can we write about love?
How does the love we write about change the people who read our stories? Does it change them at all? Are we afraid of saying too much? Too little? It takes a double dose of vulnerability to put that kind of love on the page.
We must be fearless.
We are among the bards of our generation. Bards tell tales of heroes, warn of danger, and give people courage. All in a fearlessly entertaining way.
That’s the power of love.
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and Unexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon. The free short story “Superhero in Disguise” and the new short story “Welcome to Loon Lake” are available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.
Valentine’s Day is almost here…chocolate and flowers and romance. What girl could ask for more?
This Valentine’s I decided to do something totally different…I wanted to tell a story in pictures and rhyme. With the way books are published now as e-books and I’ve heard that books with soundtracks etc. are in the works, I wanted to experiment on my own.
So I bought a bunch of photos from www.Dreamstime.com and then found the perfect music from Kevin MacLeod www.incompetech.com and put it all together with my voiceover and a poem I wrote about a little girl who wanted to be a princess…
So here you are: the story of The Princess and the Stilettos…and how she found her prince told as a Valentine’s Day video poem.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Valentine’s Day is coming up and I won’t be with my husband, I’ll be on a writing trip with friends. I’m not too worried about it though. I mostly think of Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark holiday.
That being said, I don’t think you can say “I love you” too much. You never know when it will be the last time, but more than that, expressing to someone that you love them forms and shapes and repairs the foundation of your relationship.
But what does it mean?
This year, the day before Valentine’s Day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Christian faith. Lent is a time of repentance, turning from the wrongs of the past, and pressing closer to God. It’s a reminder that God loves us so much that he’d be willing to take a bullet to keep us safe.
That’s the kind of love many romance writers weave into their stories every day. It’s most obvious in romantic suspense where one person can literally take a bullet for the other. But it’s in all the other stories where someone says, I’m sorry, I made a mistake, and the other person says, I forgive you because I love you. And then they grow closer than ever.
I love those stories!
Some people theorize that the reason people respond to stories of love and sacrifice and forgiveness and happily ever after is because we are wired that way. Our enjoyment of such stories opens our hearts to the possibility that those tales represent the Truth of why we are here. We are loved, we made mistakes, a sacrifice was made on our behalf so that we wouldn’t be lost forever, forgiveness was offered, and happily ever after is ours for eternity.
That’s a pretty amazing love story. Loved forever. I want that.
Much as I can’t wait for my writing trip, I’m going to miss my husband. I’ll miss waking up beside him every morning, trying to be the first one to say “I love you.” I’ll miss how much he makes me laugh. And as much as I’ll try to deny it, I’ll miss how much he teases me to the point of losing my mind.
Because somewhere in the layers of all of those things, I’ve found a taste of what love is all about – someone who sacrifices to make my life better, who always forgives me, who wants to be with me forever, no matter what.
Love is the answer to why I am here. It’s the answer to why I write about love.
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