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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Guest Blog: Liz Crowe

I am pondering romance formula today kids. You know. The Rules. When you toss the "erotic" into the description, things can get dicey but for most publishers, The Rules Remain the Same:

HEA/HFN required

Alpha or at the very least Gamma Hero. Betas are fine but only for brothers or "besties."

No bitchy, whiny, unlikeable (TSTL) Heroines. Period.

No marital infidelity.

I get it. It's meant to be fantasy. But that whole 'no adultery' thing I think is something that could be breached, should be actually given how real it is.

Are we, hard wired as we are to procreate (i.e. F$#@ like monkeys) REALLY meant to be monogamous? I'm a preacher's kid and as such took the creation myth pretty seriously. If there were such a thing as creating a man out of sand a woman out of his rib and then programming their brains to take one look at each other's nekkid selves and get busy, a lot, how does that square really?

I guess that begs an entire Fox News screaming match on "Darwin vs. God" but that is not my point. You don't have to dig too deeply into zoology/biology to get it that every living creature on our planet is all about survival. Roses grow thorns to keep birds away. Skunks are little stink bombs to keep from getting eaten by wolves. The venus flytrap can eat an insect that might otherwise eat it. And we all live to procreate and make more of ourselves. Why do YOU think having sex feels so damn good?

We are all selfish, and the way we act and interact in our worlds just proves it. A FANTASTIC if a bit depressing piece by my favorite "dude writer" on puts it perfectly:

"Here’s what is natural: ferocious self-interest. Take, eat, rut. Organize in order to take more, eat more, rut more. This is the base line of all existence. All animals are compelled to survive and, if possible, thrive. In this context, monogamy is unnatural. The more sexual partners a male is exposed to, the better chance that he’ll fulfill the commands of his basic programming. A female also benefits from a variety of potential male suitors. She would get to pick and choose the superior genetic specimen for hot mating. What an unbelievably unsexy verb. “I’m going to mate your brains out.

So lighten up all ye publishers! We can write stories about infidelity that still end in HEA's sometimes even between the two fornicators themselves. It's called: The Healing Power of Love. Having experienced it first hand, I can assure you it works, at least it did for me.

Final words:

"If you are an erotic pioneer hungry to explore the undiscovered countries of human sexuality, if you are truly in it to win it, then chances are you should seek out someone who you don’t have to explain yourself to. But if you want a monogamous relationship, you should have one standard. That the person you want to be monogamous with is in silent agreement with you. That they are willing to make an uneasy truce that puts them in a permanently vulnerable position."

My upcoming release: Vegas Miracle, found a home at a publisher willing to take a risk on a story about a relationship that actually grows and becomes better after the infidelity.

Ryan and Grace Sullivan have all the outward indications of a happy life: money, success, an undeniable physical attraction that quickly evolved from whirlwind relationship to marriage. But lately, Ryan's become moody and distant. As their relationship starts to crumble, Ryan discovers something about himself he can't admit just as Grace realizes the young man she encounters at an invitation only party, Henri Christophe, a celebrity chef with the most successful restaurant in Las Vegas, is her husband's lover. But Henri holds a secret himself. He wants to be more to both of them.

Trying to make their unconventional arrangement work, Ryan's deep-seated fear of relationship failure continues to thwart everyone's happiness. When he finally walks away instead of confronting the emotional connection the trio share, he returns to find their lives flipped inside out. A sought after hotel and resort consultant, Ryan has yet to meet a problem he couldn't solve. But when it comes to his own heart, Ryan may be too late

Microbrewery owner, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great middle west, in a Major College Town. Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry) has prepped her for life as erotic romance author. When she isn't sweating beer inventory, sales figures or promotional efforts for her latest publication, doing pounds of laundry for her sweaty athletic children, watching La Liga on the Fox Soccer Channel, or trying to figure out what to order in for dinner, she can be found walking her standard poodles or doing Bikram Yoga. Liz loves her Foo Fighters Pandora station, and watching reruns of Deadwood, when there isn't any decent European football on the telly. If you want a beer education follow her: For writing related stuff, including her backlist, go to:


Liz said...

leave a a copy of VEGAS MIRACLE!

wlynnchantale said...

Great post. I am so standing on my soapbox with you, Liz. I'm a PK AND a PW (preacher's wife) and while I know we have to follow rules in the "real" world, I think fiction should be reserved for fantasy. Some publishers do take the fun out of writing the story that's burning inside. Some rules I do follow, but that's my hardwiring. However I love breaking the romance rules, because a HEA or HFN can be found wherever the story may lead.

Liz said...

hear THAT sister! Hey---I'm a PK too!

Desi Moon said...

As a PK as well, I have to agree reality is one thing, fiction is a whole different world and truly believe HEA/HFN is in the eye of the beholder

DA Kentner said...

"Bridges of Madison County" immediately comes to mind. That story breaks several romance rules. And yes, I consider it romance, not fic lit. And yes, I know there are many who will disagree it's a romantic story.

I've wondered numerous times why the whole "no adultery" rule still exists, though a good and loyal spouse being hurt in the process isn't a story I personally care to read.

Liz said...

no, hurting someone is not the goal, however, my point is that humans are humans (see quotes from THe Frisky that I wholeheartedly agree with). and sometimes, it happens. What I love about a great romance is, in spite of our "human-ness" we can overcome, forgive, and continue to love--perhaps even more.
thanks for the comments!

Adele Dubois said...

I agree that fantasy vs. reality should give us more leeway in our romance fiction. Without meaning to self-promote here, my new release also addresses this subject. Marriages can be tested in any number of ways. How a couple handles their test determines the strength of their marriage.


Vicki Batman said...

Adam and Eve taking one look and getting nekkid--hilarious!

There are all kinds of stories, all kinds of people. Putting them into boxes isn't right. Too many rules isn't right.

Good post, Liz.

Nina Pierce said...

Hmmm, not sure I agree with the "no adultery" thing as a rule from publishers. I think (like your story) it often leads to committed couples exploring fantasies and some hot erotic stories that work. I'd put them in the category of erotic romance because all partners end up together and happy. (Sorry, off hand I can't think of any specific books, but I know I've read several.)

A great topic.

Liz said...

thanks guys--the lines between "erotica" and "erotic romance" are now so blurred the "rules" don't always apply UNLESS you are dealing with "category romance" I guess but I have run up against a wall with Vegas Miracle because at it's core it has infidelity and how all 3 parties deal with it.

Wicked Leanore said...

Deep. I love the topic and the stand on this subject. We are human, therefore Fiction should not be fenced in by Perfection.

Kellie Kamryn said...

great post Liz!

Liz said...

Thanks guys! While I read "paranormal" I tend towards "humanistic" kinds--my fav being the JR Ward version of imperfect vamps. Those guys are a mess, really. But I like most is "real people, living real lives, with real jobs and real problems--having real sex."

Janice said...

I have a manuscript that has a married couple facing the infidelity issue too, but in a different way.


Liz said...

ironically enough I just read thru a publishers "must haves" again. "Must have fidelity."

Anonymous said...

We must be drinking each others' Kool-Aid lately, b/c I'm here to support you in your decisions to bring the reality of infidelity into light. It does happen, and people live through it. I personally have a couple stories where this has happened, but alas, many publishers don't wish to portray anything but a single couple meeting and falling in love. Great post!

Debby said...

Great post!! I agree with what you say and the comments as well. There are some books I cannot read if they do not have my own personal "Must haves"
debby236 at gmail dot com

Kathleen Grieve said...

This is a great discussion. My kids love to read and I'm always pointing them in the direction of great books--YA. My oldest is 19 and will read books like ours! :)

Liz said...

thank you my lovlies....believe it or not my 16 going on 30-year old daughter gave me the catalyst for the infidelity (i.e. a character flaw in the hero that he comes to terms with) for Vegas Miracle!

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

Being a reader I can only give my little humble opinion. Have been whacked on the head by certain family members with the Bible I turned that rant off years ago as even religion can be an addiction when it gets out of hand.
Infidelity happens and people get hurt. That's the painful thing that is hard to deal with in the real world. But I would be interesting in reading your new book " Vegas Miracle", as the blurb reads very interesting and I would like to see how it is resolved. I've been on the receiving end of the subject and you learn to deal with it as it is not something you can just ignore nor hide from. Although your book is fiction it's still a real issue and a story that needs to be told.
Great post, and I hope your book turns out well and it is a great success....*S*


Sascha Illyvich - The Dark Wolf Lord said...

One of the things that would need to be taken into consideration would be the market for which romance novels are written for. I'm a rarity in that I'm a male romance writer AND reader and I see why the affair thing isn't popular. Romance novels provide an escape for women from their humdrum lives AND are ultimately about HER journey. They're about TRUST. Yes, a skilled writer can showcase that with an affair in the story.

Good post

Liz said...

thanks kids....and the winner of a copy of VEGAS MIRACLE (ARC) will be contacted directly by email.THANKS FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS!!