Today I have 2 awesome authors on the blog. Please help me welcome our 1st author J Lovelace. (join us later in the day for guest #2, please).
J has written a wonderful guest post about the essentials for writing a great romance. I enjoyed the advice and think you will too. And don’t forget to check out J’s latest release and the wonderful giveaway up for grabs!
Take it away J…
Essentials for Writing a Great Romance
If the writing itch strikes you while you lay in bed at night feeling inspired after reading a J. Lovelace novel, then allow me to indulge you with the five essential ingredients to a great romance novel. Romance is one of the most popular genres but it’s not one of the easiest to thrive in—mainly because it’s easier to read about the bulging biceps than it is to write about them. So, let’s get started.
- The Relationship Dynamic. There has to be a formula that makes up the connection between the main characters. Does Boy meet Girl? Does Boy steal Girl from Antagonist? Does Girl see Boy with a woman and then decided to kidnap Boy, lock Boy up in basement and then force Boy to sing her distorted love songs every night? Before you get started, you need to clearly identify the connection between the main characters and then build on that as the story moves forward. Without a valid formula, there is no story.
- Once you have the formula, you have to figure out the history. In real life, two people don’t end up in a happenstance relationship falling prey to a whirlwind romance. Although it sounds nice, it’s not realistic. So, you have to create a backstory for your characters and a backstory for their relationship. Is he a war hero? Is she a disgruntled chef? Is he a killer zombie who is only not thirsty for brains when he sees her smile, she the buxom lifeguard? Your characters’ history dictates their behavior, their truth. A reader can connect to a three dimensional character that came from a one-parent household and grew up teaching his younger brother how to play guitar during the summer months. The romance doesn’t define the relationship, their histories do.
- A good romance will pull a reader in and engulf them, and when the reader is done, the reader is drenched in the sensuality, the truth and the depth of the writer. A good story will seep into a reader’s senses like toxin. Now, to get to this point with a romance novel, you need to leave it all out on the page. Remember that time where your crush waved at you and you felt a knot in your stomach for the rest of the day? Your thoughts were consumed with thoughts of your crush, the smell, the angle of the wave, the creases around your crush’s lips when you saw a smile peek through. That has to be in the romance novel. And when your head literally swooned (yes, your head actually lost consciousness) wen your crush kissed your cheek and you awoke to the breeze that tickled the moisture left on your skin, put that in the novel too. Detail is essential to romance as it gives the reader a picture of what love actually looks like
- Sex. It might be best to read a couple romance novels before you get started. While you’re at it, throw in a few other genres in the mix just to see how other writers write about sex in their books. Sex scenes are hard because unless you’re trying to delve into the dark world of kink and whips, sex can be pretty straight forward. Hence, you have to determine how far your sex scenes will go and how vivid you plan to make these scenes. And keep in mind, readers will soon tire of reading about bulging manhoods and throbbing sexes, use sex scenes your way to show readers how colorful your language can be without being too literal. Instead of writing, “She wanted his bulging manhood so bad,” try, “Like a starved predator, she eyed the dangling piece of meat as he
- Pain. With love comes pain. Every romance needs pain for it to feel relatable. Perfect relationships don’t exist so readers don’t want to read about them. Readers want a love so real they can feel it on the tips of their fingers as they turn the page. Romance novels need pain. Romance needs a break in the storyline where time stops and your chest feels the crushing weight of hurt and confusion because you couldn’t really understand how love could be so cruel. What I love about love is how tricky it can be. It sneaks up on you, robs you of your sanity, kisses trails down the side of your neck so well you thought its name was Avenue, only to scold your vulnerability as if your infantile emotions couldn’t possibly mature to a level adequate for its rewards. Then, that pain soaks your heart in this gooey despair while you ask, “What the heck was that?” Write that. Don’t let any bit of it out. Because when you redeem the protagonist, the end result is that much sweeter.
This isn’t a foolproof guide to a good romance but it’s a great start. Now, that you have all the ingredients, get in that kitchen and start stirring things up.
Bad as in Good
Released July 29th, 2014
Teeming with dramatic plot twists and wickedly delightful erotic frills, a passionate story about two lovers struggling with heartbreak, heartthrobs, and self-fulfillment.
Many of us fall into unrelenting cycles that lead us to inevitable heartbreak—a knee-weakening, nearly unbearable period of withdrawal where we curse our indiscretions and promise to do better next time. But why? Why do we do this to ourselves?
That’s the question Erin is constantly asking herself.
Along for the ride is Tariq, a young man battling his past as well. While their romantic lives intertwine, they find it almost impossible to break free of the merciless beast that is love and its ugly stepsister, heartbreak.
At first, Erin’s attraction to Tariq is like a drug addiction she can’t ignore, but as drama ensues and the ugly past comes back to visit, both Tariq and Erin realize how bad—as in good—love truly is.
Chapter 1: Tariq
Four years ago…
There she was. My boo. My wifey. My ace boon-coon. Whatever people or I was willing to call her, minus the official title of wife, she was. And there she was tonguing some other poor soul down in the middle of the Japanese steakhouse she’d been fighting to get me to take her to. I wasn’t down for all that teppanyaki and sushi. I always passed, but that ain’t stop her from going out and finding her another dude to take her there while she used the guise of “shopping with the girls” to keep me from being on to her games. I eventually realized that when she kept coming home glowing with no shopping bags, she wasn’t really shopping.
She ain’t know I followed her this time. Well, technically, I wasn’t really following her. Ain’t like I waited ten minutes after she left to hop into my car, turn off my headlights, and tail her from streetlight to streetlight while I stayed two cars behind. I was smart and less crazy about all this. Outside of her credit cards not being maxed out on Prada bags and Gucci shoes, I had no real proof that she was stepping out on me. I couldn’t justify, to my mama or myself, that I had a reason to stalk my own woman. However, I had to consider the asinine possibility that my congeniality may have forced her into the arms of Mr. Convenience. I thought up the least likely place she’d expect me to spot her, grabbed the darkest table I could find, and posted up.
The first hour there, I was amped. I sat there with the menu covering my face, dodging waiters and customers who ain’t feel comfortable with a black man hiding out in a dimly lit booth of a Japanese steakhouse. Every time a woman walked in, I hid my face and gorged on saké. The second and third hour, I couldn’t dodge the waiters anymore. I had to order something or risk being thrown out for looking plain weird. After filling up on Kobe beef, rice and broccoli, I lost the initial zeal I had. I started to settle into the notion that I was paranoid and my woman really was out there watching her money and enjoying the comforts of window-shopping.
The fourth hour, I asked for the check. To my server’s delight, he dropped my dinner bill on my table and skipped away. As I pulled a few bills from my wallet, I noticed a tall, statuesque woman stroll in. Large bumblebee shades covered her eyes and rested on top of her high, taupe cheekbones. She wore a tight black dress that pushed her breasts together and cuffed her ass in all the right places. Her brown, curly hair bounced on top of her shoulders as she glided to an empty table. I stared her down and watched her remove her glasses. Bright, almond-shaped chestnut eyes, shaded by long overlapping eyelashes, almost took my breath away.
My waiter returned asking for his money, but I shooed him away to watch as my woman sat alone and waited. I was hoping she was waiting for her girls to roll through. Maybe they needed to eat before heading home, I thought. After a quick glance at my cell, I ignored the fact that she didn’t call me to let me know she’d be home late while I focused on how that wasn’t the dress she was wearing when she left the house. When the waiter handed her a drink without even taking an order, it was clear that she’d been here long enough to have a usual.
Suddenly, some dude walked in with a bouquet of flowers and a big-ass smile. He was a tall linebacker-lookin’ dude with a thick neck and a wide frame. His skin was dark as night with eyes that were beady and mischievous. His long, oblong face reminded me of a walking horse, yet, as he held a bouquet of flowers, my woman stared up at him as if he was a modern-day marvel. Although according to her, she hated flowers, but her face lit up as she jumped up and down in her seat when he placed the bouquet in her arms. I wanted to believe that this was their first time meeting. I could forgive an innocent slip-up. But the way he kissed her hello, the way he wrapped his arm around her waist as if to proclaim that she was his boo, wifey, or ace boon-coon only solidified the telling fact that they were more than first-time acquaintances. I noticed the way she giggled and blushed as he brushed her hair behind her ears. The way he rested the palm of his hand on her lap irked me. But what really did me in was how he squeezed the back of her neck, my woman’s neck, to exude his dominance, then pulled her in close to devour her lips to prove his ownership of who I thought was my woman. From the outside looking in, she was his woman and I was another poor sap that couldn’t help but stare.
I glared at them. Even as my waiter rudely tapped his foot, my eyes stayed glued on the show they put on before me. She ain’t care who saw. I contemplated walking out and dealing with her when she got home, but that wouldn’t be the type of guy I was. I slapped the money for my meal on the table and bumped my server as I walked in their direction.
“Deja,” I said when I reached their table. “How you been?” I spread my lips to show off all my teeth and continue the charade she put on.
I wanted her to jump when she saw me and stutter her words as she scrambled to determine how to recover. When she looked up at me, she dropped her shoulders and took a sip of her drink. Her date asked her, “Do you know this guy?”
I tensed my jaw and squeezed my fists. “This guy?” I asked. “Yea, Deja, do you know this guy?”
My woman avoided eye contact but refused to move away from his hold. He kept his arm around her waist and she kept her hand between his thighs. Luckily, for them, a table separated my anger and my fists. “What are you doing here, Tariq?”
“I finally decided to try this place out like you been begging me to. It ain’t half-bad. What the fuck are you doing here?”
She took a deep breath and exchanged glances with her date. Staring at the dude, I realized that he had pulled his lips in while he squeezed his fists as if he were uncomfortable with me standing there. “I’m Traevon. How you two know each other, bruh?”
“Well, she used to be the woman I was fuckin’. The same girl I pay all the bills for. The bitch who come home to me every night. How the fuck do you know her, bruh?”
“Don’t cause a scene, Tariq.”
I was more pissed at how they still stayed so close together. The longer she touched him only introduced the blatant disrespect she had for me to my face. When her waiter came by, he only added fuel to the fire. “Is everything all right? Do I need to escort this gentleman to his table?”
I hated the role I was forced in. Deja and fucking Traevon were together while I stood back and watched—as if I was wrong for questioning the whereabouts of who I thought was my woman. I took a deep breath and refrained from doing anything that would get me arrested. “I’m gone.” Without saying another word, I walked away. I didn’t punch the dude’s eye socket in—even though my fists were itching for the feel of blood. I simply gathered the strength I needed to go home and contemplate how I handled being the man to play the fool in a relationship I had considered taking to the next level.
Deja snuck into my life and set up shop, but there she was dating another man in my face as if I didn’t matter. I’ll take blame in the matter and say that I ignored the signs, but who was I to think that my woman had it in her to lie and cheat? I drove back to the apartment we shared and gripped the steering wheel as if I was gripping Traevon’s neck. I wish he would’ve met me outside. I wished I had the opportunity to avenge my broken heart by tearing the fool apart. Then again, I wished I hadn’t caught my woman claiming another man right in front of me with no remorse. Even though my eyes watered, I wouldn’t allow myself to bitch and moan over a woman who obviously had no respect for me. I wiped my face and drove in silence. I patiently awaited the unraveling of the life I thought I knew.
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/bad-as-in-good-by-j-lovelace_27.html
- Lovelace is a freelance journalist, editor, and published author. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s in Creative Writing and Public and Organizational Communications. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband, daughter and son while pursuing a graduate education
*J. Lovelace is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for Two $10.00 B&N Gift Cards*