The Gay Side of Mardi Gras: Take Pride

Ever heard of Yuga. If you are like me, for many years, I had not. When I did, I thought people were mispronouncing yoga and was somewhat confused by why yoga would be in a Mardi Gras parade. I was even more confused as to how that looked. Before I get into it, thank you for being here to help me celebrate the upcoming release of my sports romance, Ice Gladiators, on 02/15/20. I will be making random bonus posts until the release date as well as hosting giveaways and other special surprises. Please read to the end to find out more about the giveaway.

If you have been following along, I released two posts earlier today, both about Valentine’s Day. But there is another holiday coming up that I am excited about, and that, of course, is Mardi Gras. I could not have a celebration without talking about my favorite holiday of the year. Since the characters in Ice Gladiators, live in Louisiana, celebrate Mardi Gras, and are gay men, this discussion of Yuga seems fitting. So, away we go with Yuga, and it has nothing to do with Star Wars or Yoda.

This would not be a complete celebration if I did not mention Mardi Gras. Mostly, I will be using the terms Mardi Gras and Carnival interchangeably, although, that is not technically correct. Most people have come to use the term Mardi Gras to refer to all of Carnival or the entire celebratory period. However, Mardi Gras specifically refers to Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday (i.e., the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent). Fat Tuesday is the last day of Carnival. I will refrain from discussing it here because I have discussed it at length in several other posts. I will link those posts at the end in case you are interested in learning the history of Mardi Gras and the significance of events or customs.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a krewe (krōō)is defined as a private organization staging festivities (such as parades) during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

The Krewe of Yuga was the first “official” gay krewe and/or ball of Mardi Gras. It was formed in the late 1950s; however, underground and/or secretive gay krewes had been in existence long before then. The difference between Yuga and its predecessors is that Yuga was recognized as being an authentic krewe. Today, the krewe is no longer in existence, but it is credited as being the grandfather to modern gay krewes, including the Krewe of Amon-Ra and the Krewe of Petronius and a vital force in the Gay Rights Movement. Originally, Krewe of Yuga acted as a parody of traditional (heterosexual) Mardi Gras krewes and allow people who were gay an opportunity to socialize during Carnival. Its Carnival court consisted of a Captain, King, Queen, maids, and debutantes clad in outrageously handmade costumes. As is the tradition with modern Carnival courts, the Yuga court was presented at a Mardi Gras ball. Many gay Carnival balls exist today. Some of the better knows ones are Krewe of Amon-Ra, Krewe of Armeinius, Lords of Leather, Krewe of Mwindo, Krewe of Stars, and Mystic Krewe of Satyricon.

  1. Amon-Ra, founded in 1965, takes its name from the Egyptian god of the sun. It is a non-profit corporation, gay social Mardi Gras krewe. Attendance to their Mardi Gras ball is by invitation only. Initially, the Amon-Ra ball had to be kept secret in order to prevent being raided and shut down by the police.
  2. Armeinius was established in 1969, and its bylaws state that its ball must be held on the Saturday before Mardi Gras Day. Its ball is prestigious and to receive a table invitation indicates that a person is acknowledged by the New Orleans gay society. According to the Krewe of Armeinius, one of its main purposes is to preserve the history and pass down the tradition of the craft of creating and/or making Mardi Gras costumes. The organization also aims to archive gay memorabilia (e.g., historical documents and photographs). In fact, it is one of the largest gay historical archives in the United States.
  3. The name gives away the key feature of Lords of Leather. This krewe is the only leather-oriented krewe in the nation. Their balls consist of medieval themes and traditions. They host a Mardi Gras Bal Masque. To find them, look no further than The Phoenix, which is their “home bar.”
  4. The Krewe of Petronius has a founding date of 1961 and has nothing to do with J.K Rowling’s patronus charm or the wizarding world; although, the Petronius is quite magical. The krewe’s name derives from Gaius Petronius Arbiter, an ancient Rome gay writer and courtier during Emperor Nero’s reign. Gaius Petronius Arbiter was a member of the senatorial class who lavished in a life of pleasure. This krewe is known for hosting some of the most lavish and creative Carnival balls.
  5. In 1998, the Krewe of Mwindo was formed. It is one of the newest gay krewes. What makes this organization unique is its devotion to including persons who were excluded from traditional celebrations. Let me mention an aside here. All of the gay krewes seek for inclusivity of the gay community into Carnival as well as into society. This always has been a goal. However, the formulation of having specific gay krewes is similar to the inclusion of masks for persons of color and of lower economic status. (I go into greater details about Mardi Gras masks in previous posts. See the link below if you’re interested to learn more.)
  6. Even newer than Mwindo is the Krewe of Stars. It was organized in 2017. This Krewe is committed to underscoring the citizens of local communities. Additionally, they heavily support the theater and the performing arts. At their hosted Mardi Gras Tableau Ball, they recognize members of the community for their contribution and excellence in the arts, media, music, and theater.
  7. One of the largest gay krewes is the Mystic Krewe of Satyricon.

All of the mentioned Krewes have websites, and they appreciate donations. Please visit them to learn more or help them continue their traditions and/or philanthropies or to become a part of their organizations. They would appreciate any love shown.

There is one other feature of Mardi Gras that embraces and places a spotlight on gay culture and that is the Bourbon Street Awards. The Bourbon Street Awards are held annually on the morning of Fat Tuesday. To say that it is the ultimate costume contest of Carnival is an understatement. Categories for awards include Best Drag, Best Group, Best Leather, and Best Overall Costume. Celebrities emcee the contest.

This year, Fat Tuesday is February 25. For Mardi Gras packages and parade schedules in New Orleans, visit Mardi Gras New Orleans.

Please share your Mardi Gras/Carnival Experience in the comments below. What is your favorite parade or ball? Have you ever participated in court? Have you ever danced the night away at a Carnival ball? Have you ever attended one of the gay parades? What has been your favorite Carnival costume?

If you enjoyed this post and are interested in me writing more along these lines, please let me know in the comment section below. Also, if learning more about Mardi Gras strikes you fancy, visits my previous posts Mardi Gras From the Bayou or Mardi Gras Exposed and get some real tea.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

DISCLAIMER: This post is in no way sponsored or affiliated by any person, brand, or product mentioned herein. I make no money or obtain any sort of financial gain or gifts from the mentioned brands. If you are interested in any person, brand, or product listed, please visit the brand or product website and learn more about their products and services to make an informed decision for yourself.

Resources

Hockey Players Exposed

Greetings everyone. As you know, my sports romance novel, Ice Gladiators, is being released on 02/15/20, and that I am blogging at least one post each day until its release in celebration. For today’s topic, I will introduce you to the cast of Ice Gladiators.

This is a spoiler-free post. I will not reveal anything about the characters that will be a spoiler to the plot. However, if you do not wish to know anything about any of the characters and prefer to read the story with no knowledge of anything that happens, please skip to the bottom of the page. Since I like to save the best for last, I’ll begin by introducing some of the minor characters first. Please note that the characters mentioned in this post are not the only characters in the story. Since hockey is a team sport, the cast is large. Some of the cast have very small parts. For that reason, some readers may be happy to learn that at the beginning of Ice Gladiators, there is a team roster to keep track of who is on what team easily. However, you’ll find that once you begin reading, it is not difficult to determine which characters are the most important and what team they are a member. However, the roster is listed for reader convenience.

The first character I will discuss is Donavan Sawyer. He is a defenseman for the Lafayette Ice Water Moccasins, the same team as the leading man, Taz. Donavan is big, broad, and mean. He is an enforcer. For those unfamiliar with hockey slang, an enforcer is a player who hits hard and responds aggressively in an effort to deter or respond to violent plays committed by the opponents. In other words, enforcers are the fighters on the team. Although Donavan and Taz are on the same team, they do not always see eye-to-eye.

Opposite Donavan is Eric Chapel. Eric, too, is a defenseman for the Moccasins. He is one of Taz’s three closest friends (along with Ian and Kaden) on the team. Eric is strong on the ice, but very levelheaded and not quick-tempered. Eric can be the moral conscience of the team.

If anyone things all hockey players are dense or not smart, think again. Ian Whittaker is the intellect on the Moccasin’s team. Perhaps this is why he is the team’s pest. A pest is a player whose main role is to agitate and distract the opponents to draw penalties on them while giving his own team a power play. He incites the other team not by with his fists but with his clever wit and silver tongue.

Next up is Kaden Blanc is the teammate who could talk Taz down the easiest. He always seems to know the right thing to say at the right moment. Kaden is a forward and on the same line as Taz. In hockey, a “line” consists of three forwards (left wing, right wing, and center) and two defensemen (referred to as partners) that play in a group. In general, Kaden is jovial and considerate. However, these characteristics do not make him weak. He is an outstanding player who scores goals.

Coach Pernell holds nothing back when coaching his team. His only goal is winning. Well, maybe, that isn’t his only goal. It boils down to what one considers winning. Pernell wants to be on top, and being on top does not necessarily equate to winning. To say he and Taz do not have the best relationship doesn’t tip the animosity between these two. They have a working relationship, and even that is tense.

Spencer is next. He’s not a member of the team, but he works for the hockey franchise. He’s also Taz’s blind date, which is arranged by Jackson, one of Taz’s two roommates. Spencer works in accounting, but he’s seen Taz on the ice and has developed a huge crush on him. He’s also used to getting what he wants.

Jackson is Taz’s ambitious roommate and a bit of a jokester. He wants to move up in the Whittle, Darbonne, & Shaw corporation and actively looks for ways to do so. He also encourages his roommates to advance their careers as well.

Victor is Taz’s second roommate. He is a videographer who wants to make an award-winning documentary. The problem is, he has not shot one millimeter of film for it. Instead, he works in editing game footage of the Moccasins. This does not make him happy, but it pays the rent. He also has a boyfriend.

And speaking of boyfriends, cue Liam Jolivet. This eccentric hottie looks as if he rolled off the pages of a 1930’s GQ magazine. He’s has a classic style that speaks the moment he enters the room and a warm nature that draws people to him, including Taz. It’s too bad that he’s Victor’s boyfriend. Well, he’s Victor’s boyfriend if you ask Victor. Liam considers himself a free agent, which means he can go after Taz.

Liam is attempting to rebuild his life after a bad business decision nearly financially ruined him. All he has left is his determination to succeed. He cannot afford to be distracted or another bad investment, including poor emotional investments. He notices in Taz that their outlooks are significantly different, and he questions if that gap between them is too large to close.

Rounding out this cast is the leading man, Dalek Tazandlakova, referred to as Taz by his friends and as Blue Devil by his fans on account of his electric blue hair and his devilish antics on the ice. There’s a story behind the hair color, and he’ll tell it if one cares to listen. Taz is what is known as a defensive forward (also called a two-way forward) is a player who handles both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game. These players are versatile and can be vital in winning the game. Taz is not the team captain, but he certainly commands this story.

Taz is from Stockholm, Sweden; so, sometimes, what he says and hears is lost in translation. Taz makes it no secret that his life is complicated. One would think he’d seek to simplify it. Instead, he decides to flirt with his roommate’s boyfriend. He’s self-assured enough that nothing will come of it. But when Liam flirts back, the fireworks spark off the ice. Game on! Taz is placed in the position of having to choose between his best friend and the man who flips every one of his sexual switches. Not to mention he has a dragon coach huffing down his neck every game.

Who’s ready for some hockey?

These are the main characters of Ice Gladiators, but don’t be surprised by the appearance in the locker room (and other places) of some of the favs from Out of the Penalty Box and Defending the Net. Ice Gladiators can be read as a standalone novel, and readers will not be lost if they have not read the first two books of my sports romance series.

That’s all I have for today. I hope you have enjoyed reading about the Ice Gladiator characters. Which character are you the most excited to read about? If you are interested in reading more about their backstories or outtakes, please comment below. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more bonus content this month. I have plenty of additional good stuff planned as the days continue to count down until release, and it includes a little something for everyone’s entertainment and enjoyment. If during that time you have anything you’d like to know or questions answered, ask me on any of my social media accounts. I will be extremely active on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and I love to chitchat.

If you have not entered my giveaway, what are you waiting for? Enter for a chance to win great prizes.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored or affiliated with any person, brand, or franchise. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

For information about the rules of hockey or teams, visit the National Hockey League (NHL) website.

Resources:

Writer Meeting Their Characters

Writing is fun, but it also has its odd moments. I recently asked some of my writer friends if they meet their characters. After being side-eyed, one finally fessed up that she did. I smiled at the rest because I knew they were holding out on me—cause that’s just how my friends are. They like giving me a hard time and have me thinking I’m off my rocker. And I suppose for the non-writing world, this does seem odd. So, I’ll explain what I mean.

As I’m creating a character, that is what he/she is—a creation in my head, a piece of fiction or an image that does not exist. Sometimes, it isn’t even an image, but rather, an idea in a shapeless, faceless, voiceless form. My characters usually transpire from a concept. I wouldn’t call it a plot because it is too vague and abstract. For example, it may be something as simple as a person laughing on a porch. I’ll start thinking about the porch, the kind of furniture there. Is it in the country or city? What season is it? Is it day or night? As the scene begins to flush itself out, that’s when the character develops. What kind of person would sit on this porch? Is it a man or a woman? What is he/she wearing? What does this character physically look like? Eventually, the character is given a name, but I don’t put much stock in that. I usually change a character’s name five, six, fifteen times before I settle on one that I believe is fitting to his/her personality. Because at this stage in writing, names aren’t important, and they will come in time.

What’s interesting, though, is sometimes I will write an entire story, and I’ll have a vivid picture of this character in my mind. Then, while I’m out gallivanting around town, I will see a living, breathing, walking person who I’ve never laid eyes on previously, and that person will be the spitting image of one the characters in my mind.

That recently happened after I completed Ice Gladiators and had sent it for editing. I kid you not, I was sitting in bed, channel surfing late one night. I ran across a movie I’d never seen advertised (which isn’t all that shocking for me). The scene was of two business partners disagreeing, with one on the verge of a temper tantrum. I paused to watch the meltdown play out and determine if it would be something I’d be interested in occupying my time watching—and also to determine if I would be able to pick up on the plot since I’d missed no telling how much of the beginning. It did not take me long before I was hooked. A few scenes later, I literally stopped breathing for a second and had to blink. On the screen was my Liam Jolivet, in appearance and mannerisms. He even sounded like I thought my character would sound. It gave me a sense of deja vu. There wasn’t much off about the character on the screen and the one that imagined, other than their motivation and personalities. Well, personality is a big deal; so, allow me to clarify. Much of their personalities were the same—their easygoingness and playful nature. However, the screen character was far darker than the one I envisioned for my character of Liam. And my character was slightly more modern with a different motivation and outlook on life. So, the two characters were not replicas, but it just goes to show how real characters can become to the writers who create them.

There were no other similarities between the movie and Ice Gladiators. And honestly, this is not the first time I’ve experienced this. I’ve walked into coffee shops or looked over while waiting at a red light and have seen my characters’ doppelgängers. Rarely have I ever spoken to them. That’s really very weird, and if I have, I never deluge it. I mean, how would one work that into a conversation? Besides, it may freak the other person all the way out. Heck, it freaks me out. Plus, I wouldn’t want someone to get it twisted and believe that a character is based on him/her. As I said, in the case of my Liam character, Ice Gladiators had been submitted to the publisher for weeks prior to me seeing the movie. Not only that, I had never heard or seen the movie advertised until that night. I guess it’s no different from a screenwriter who creates a character and then the casting director finds an actor who embodies or is reminiscent of the character. It just sounds really bonkers when spoken aloud.

Now, I know some people are going to ask me what was the movie. Well, I’m not going to say because I do not want people to make comparisons between the two. I think that would only serve as a distractor to both stories. And as I said, the characters’ personalities are very different. They’re also one key physical characteristic that is different between the two as well. I would like to think of the screen character as my muse, but being that I didn’t see him first, that can’t be the case. I am slightly surprised that Liam was the character that I found, though. I would have guessed it would have been another character. But then again, I spent a great deal of time developing Liam. Although it is not seen in the story (because it didn’t have a place), he has a lengthy back history. His character is complex, and there exists a certain consistency to his behavior that makes him unpredictable. I know that sounds contradictory, but once Liam is seen in the story, it makes sense.

One of the things I frequently advise other writers when we’re having a conversation about writing is that before allowing anyone to edit, proofread, critique, or beta read is to know one’s character. I firmly believe and follow this. When a writer intricately knows his/her characters, that writer is better equipped to accept and apply critiques and criticism. That is because the writer knows what he/she wants to say and the only question is the application of how its expressed. When I saw the screen character, it made me confident that I truly heard my character’s voice and envisioned his style. I knew for certain how he should come across the pages to readers.

This brings me to another point. Some writers argue that authors should reframe from providing too much detail and allow readers to fill in details for themselves. That works for some writers, but not this chic. No, I don’t want a blank canvas or even a paint by numbers. I want the reader to see what I see. As the writer, I want to create a world that readers enter and simply enjoy. I’m not going to say there’s food on the table. I’m going to details the sights, aromas, feel, and tastes of the buffet. This does not mean I’m going to bog down a story with purple prose of useless fluff. But I’m not going to leave the reader wanting for anything, either. Since I tend to write deep point of view, the reader experiences what my main character experiences, and most people don’t exist in fill-in-the-blank environments.

If you’re a writer, have you ever seen one of your characters in real life this way? If yes, how did it feel? Where were you? What was the experience like? Have you ever discussed this experience with anyone? Were you surprised? Do you generally write characters about people you know or people you know of (e.g., actors, musicians, etc.)? Have you ever introduced yourself to a stranger who reminded you of one of your characters? Let me know your experience below by leaving a comment. I look forward to reading them.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Writing resources:

Ice Gladiators Blitz Q&A

I honestly had not expected to do a part three of behind the scenes of Ice Gladiators, but I received so many more questions, I felt that I had to answer. I am thrilled to have so many people interested, and everyone knows I aim to please. However, these questions were more general in nature than previous questions, and many of the answers are shorter. Therefore, this is more like a Blitz question and answer, which I found quite fun answering. That being said, let me hop to it and get this party started.

  1. What character was hardest to write and which was the easiest? I find that my lead characters are always the easiest to write. The more complex a character and the more time I spend writing them, the more they develop. The more a character is developed, the easier it is for me to write. I tend to write from a deep-person point of view. Some authors would say this is a very complex and complicated way to write. However, I find it the easiest. When I sit at my computer and begin pounding out the words, the scene may be difficult to make work the way I want it, and that becomes a struggle. But the characters I have down at that point. I’m in their heads. I know what they are going to do and say. What I don’t know is how the plot is going to pan out at that point. Yes, a plotter would, but everyone knows I’m a proud self-proclaimed panster, and that isn’t changing anytime soon. In Ice Gladiators, Taz was the easiest. The hardest was Pernell. The reason he was difficult was that he had a minor but important role. I did not want him to come across as one-dimensional, which is hard for any character that is only being shown for a limited time in a narrow role. In Ice Gladiators, there was no space for Pernell’s backstory or a glimpse into his home life. I dislike when a reader is left wondering why a character behaves a certain way. However, in life, some things are left unexplained or ambiguous. For others, there simply isn’t an answer. It is what it is.
  2. Which character is my favorite? If I consider this question to include all of my works, it is very difficult to answer. I enjoy developing characters. In fact, all of my stories are character-driven. I guess it I had an area of “specialty”, it is diving into the psyches of the characters I write. I enjoy complex characters that are diverse and have unique personalities. Not all are pleasant, but each is well-rounded. Sometimes, their complete backstories aren’t written in the text, but they each have one in my head as I develop and write them. With all of that being said, I believe in Ice Gladiators, my favorite character is Liam Jolivet. He’s such a good-hearted character with a streak of bad boy. His bad-boy persona does not fully emerge, but one gets a glimpse of it and can see he can truly mischievous. If considering all of my sports romances, the answer is far more complicated. I love characters, such as Nicco Bale and Semien Metoyèr, who steal the scene any time they are around. But I also love the characters who are a bit angsty and on the edge, such as Aidan Lefèvre and Brighton Rabalais. Then again, I’m a sucker for the sweethearts, such as Christophe Fortenot. However, by far the favorite character I’ve ever created cannot be named, yet, because he hasn’t been introduced anywhere, yet. However, he’s coming soon, so, just hang on for him a little while longer. I’ll give a hint, though. He’s in the project I not-so-lovingly referred to as “beast”. And no, the name has nothing to do with the subject matter and everything to do with editing.
  3. If I could be any one of my characters, who would I choose? Again, if this is a consideration for all of my stories, this would be difficult. Maybe impossible, decision. I think it would be easier to answer which character I would not want to be. I’ve created some vile ones in my day. They were good for the story but not anyone I would aspire to be. Yuck!
  4. What is the ship-name for Taz and Liam? I have no idea. I was thinking it would be Lata maybe. I couldn’t decide on a good one. I’ll let the readers come up with one.
  5. Are the characters modeled after anyone? Maybe very loosely some characters share some characteristics with persons I’ve encountered or met in the past and that I have shoved into my subconscious. Honestly, though, if this is the case, it is so convoluted I can’t tell you who any of the real people are. On the flip side, I sometimes see a photo of a person who is the physical embodiment of the character in my head. This is a chicken and egg moment for me. Did I see the photo and create the physical characteristics of the character, or had I created the character first? I think more often than not; it is the latter and not the former. But even if it is the former, due to my tendency to change my stories, by the end, the character becomes unrecognizable from the muse.
  6. Which do I prefer to write, the protagonist or the antagonist? I enjoy writing both. But I’ll confess, some of my antagonists after I’m done writing I’m thinking “Eww, that’s a person I’d like to shove in a black hole.” Some of them are not nice at all, but they are fun to read. And since I don’t like having characters with no redeeming qualities, I usually try to sneak in at least one. It doesn’t always work, but I do give it a genuine shot.
  7. What inspired me to begin writing? I have talked about this briefly in other posts, but I get asked this a lot, so I’ll give a quick synopsis here. I’ve always found writing as a therapeutic outlet for creativity. I was raised mostly around adults, and all I had for play was my imagination. Writing was both a time-consuming and solitary activity. My elementary school didn’t offer much in the way of the arts. Well, they did, but by the time I had come of age to participate, they had begun to fade away those programs. Plus, my parents were too busy to take me, and I wouldn’t have been able to participate anyway. I think that may be one reason as a parent, I have moved heaven and earth to be the parent that is always there and finding a way to make time for extracurricular activities.
  8. How long have I been writing? I can’t remember exactly, but I know I was young. In grade school, I would write short notes on holidays. These actually were poorly received by my family and led me to writing in secret and not sharing any stories. I was about fifth grade I believe when I wrote my first novel. It started out as a short story and turned into a trilogy. I still have it—all handwritten. I haven’t looked at it since I tucked it away all those years ago. Sometimes, I think I should revisit it as an adult and just see what I could do with it now. It’s a thought.
  9. What is my guilty pleasure? People closest to me probably would say milkshakes or ice cream. Some may even say chocolate. A close third would be makeup. I agree those are vices for me. However, I think perhaps my biggest guilty pleasure is Dooney & Burke purses. Okay, I’m going to need this company to block their website from my viewing. I love that brand. People used to say to me that I only like them because of the name, but no, that isn’t true. No joke, I can walk into a department store with no monikers above the brands and no insignias on the products, and my eyes immediately zone in on the D&Bs. It’s like I’m magnetically drawn to them. I’ll be across the aisle and see a purse on display. I’ll comment on how much I like the design, and when I inspect it closer, it’s a D&B. I went through a period when I refused to buy any just so I would have diversity in my purses. What ended up happening is that I didn’t purchase any purses for two years because I didn’t find any others that appealed to me. Finally, I admitted defeat and gave up. What really did me in was the D&B collegiate line. It was just pointless fighting it at that point.
  10. How long was I writing before I was published? I would guess about ten years or so if I count back to my grade school years. I was first published in college when I was a sophomore. I had a short story published in the college literary magazine. A few years after that I had works published in a professional organization in the poetry and short story section. My first novel came several years after my post-graduate studies, but I took a break from writing for personal reasons. When I returned, the industry had changed a lot in that time. Talk about snoozing and losing. But the break wasn’t a bad thing. When I returned, I felt I had better direction as a writer and was willing to explore more. Not only did I feel my work had matured in technique but also in content and style. So, it all worked out for the better.
  11. What’s my next project? How do I answer this? Honestly, I don’t know, and here’s why. I discussed this some time ago when I used to publish my quarterly goals. It was a fairly in-depth discussion, and nothing much has changed since then in regards to my plan. Several years ago, I had to shelf projects to meet other obligations and deadlines. I also had computer crashes that prevented me from completing some projects. In late 2017/early 2018, I made the decision that I would not take on any new projects (haha for wishful thinking) and would complete everything on my to-do list once I had fulfilled current obligations. My “beast” and “megabeast” were two projects on that to-do list. I decided to tackle “beast” first. I don’t know how wise that was, but I did. It took far more time than I had anticipated getting through it. But it is done. So, I guess that should be my next project. However, I have another project that is completed and ready to go. Only I don’t know how I want to approach it. It’s a shorter work, but I really enjoyed it. It is different than anything I’ve ever written before or since and completely transported me out of my element. The reason it was written specifically for a special collaboration event publication. The publisher decided to postpone the release and later canceled. Since it was promised to a publisher, I held onto it, because there was discussion to reconsider the project. In short, that may be the next project. But wait, there’s more. There is a third completed work that I was set back for such a stupid reason that I won’t even get into it. As with anything I allow to sit for any length of time, I will update. I would say I’m done with the possibilities, but nope. There’s a fourth WIP that was set aside. And if you think I’m finished, you’d be wrong. I know I said I wouldn’t take on any new projects, but another opportunity opened its door. So, there you have it. I have no shortage of what to do next. It may come down to a flip of a coin (or a couple of coins).
  12. What would I do if I couldn’t write? Besides, drive those closest to me insane? I’d probably adopt several dogs and play with them all day. Or maybe I would try my hand at flipping a house … or not. If I did a remodel, I probably wouldn’t sell once completed.

That’s it for this Q&A. If you have any more questions fire away. Either comment below or shoot me an email and I will be happy to respond.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Resources

Saint Anne, Louisana

Bienvenue en Louisiane! Welcome to Saint Anne!

Where? What? Why? If you’re asking these questions, sit back, grab a cool one, and let me explain.

My new sports romance, Ice Gladiators, mainly takes place in fictional Saint Anne, as did my previous sports romances, Out of the Penalty Box and Defending the Net. But Saint Anne is more than just a made-up name. It has a backstory that some may find interesting. I presented some of the history in a previous blog post prior to the release of DTN. It focused on the origins of the city. You can read that post, entitled “Saint Anne, Louisiana,” at https://bit.ly/315NmUe. Today’s post, however, will focus on the current city and not so much the history. So, take with me, if you will, a brief excursion to this historical Dixieland of my imagination. One may note some similarities to another very popular city in Louisiana, and this is no accident. Inspiration was drawn from that other city.

So, where exactly is Saint Anne? Well, pull out your map, and I’ll show you. Saint Anne is a consolidated parish-city cozied in southeast Louisiana along the scenic Mississippi River in western Jefferson Parish near New Orleans and founded in 1726 by the great step-nephew of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, Roche d’Iberville. As with many of the locations in Louisiana, names of many cities, streets, rivers/bayous, and establishments bear the name of Catholic saints, monarchs, and persons of the French aristocracy. Saint Anne is no different. Named after Saint Anne of David’s house, mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus, Saint Anne has a population of approximately 97,000 residents. Stacked with cafés specializing in lavish, authentic Creole and Cajun cuisine, scrumptious beignets and pastries, and other extravagant foods, Saint Anne is the hub of a buzzing food scene prepared by world-renown chefs.

Take a stroll along some of Saint Anne’s oldest streets and marvel at the glorious mansions of the old world and era gone past—from the lavishness of plantations to the hipped roofed double-gallery houses to the simplicity of renovated shotgun homes. The city is filled with beautiful cathedrals with steeples that tower in the skyline and intricately detailed statues. See the influences of the Caribbean, Creole, French, and Spanish in the designs. While marveling at the rich opulence of centuries of architecture, indulge in the ambiance of beautiful gardens of colorful blooms and sweet aromas or lounge in one of the private courtyards and watch the golden sunset over the bayous. For nature buffs, the Saint Anne wetlands are rich with wildlife, and there is no shortage of river tours. Just don’t dangle any appendages too close to the water. It would be most unfortunate to have one snapped off suddenly for a reptilian dinner.

If learning about culture is your thing, have an evening constitution is the Historic District lined with museums, but be cautious walking the boulevards that sporadically branch into seventeenth-century alleyways and lead to haunted cemeteries where one might catch sight of a spirt or two. That shiver down your spine, while you creep past one of the above-ground tombs, may not be just the wind tickling your neck. Those regaled stories hold much truth. The best part is that natives won’t give weird or suspicious stares if one tells the story of such an encounter. For a less ethereal “interaction”, visit a parlor and listen to old wives orate tantalizing tales of voodoo and ghost stories. Or maybe just have your fortune read.

New York may be said to be a melting pot, but Saint Anne is not to be ignored. Saint Anne is a gem of culture—a city that has never lost its roots—and it holds its own with the best metropolitan areas. It maintains a working streetcar transit system throughout the downtown districts, which has been in operation since the early 1900s. In fact, the oldest car had been running since 1906 and still ran with a top speed exceeded no more than twenty-five miles per hour. The speed cap is strictly enforced by the Saint Anne Regional Transit Authority (SARTA). For most patrons and visitors of the downtown area, streetcars are the preferred mode of travel due to the narrow streets, lack of parking, crows of people, and traffic congestion. Cars are parked in garages on the outskirts of the Square. This system also is convenient for those who indulge in adult beverages and need a safe transport home. (BTW, Saint Anne has local brewery and wineries in addition to the numerous bars and pubs. And open-container is allowed in the downtown area.)

One can immerse in Zydeco music, swanky blues, or the jazzy nightlife. The bar scene also is popping with aged booze and hot bodies. Not only is it the home to the Saint Anne Civets, but it is also home to the Saint Anne Hounds football team. (Psst. Who’s up for a little touch football in the future? There’s a certain quarterback who has a story to tell.)

Speaking of diversity, Saint Anne’s has one of the most diverse populations in the United States. That is why often my stories contain languages other than English (which are translated) and characters from other countries. I truly believe diversity is the spice of life, and the spicier, the better.

Why do a post on a fictional city? That’s simple to answer. Saint Anne is the backdrop in all of my sports romances and is mentioned in several of my published short stories. Sometimes, I get asked questions as to why something is, especially about the transit system. It may seem odd that characters drive to a building but later get on a streetcar. This is not unusual, though, in Saint Anne or that other city with the famous Square. Or should I say, Quarter?

I also enjoy showing readers my writing process. Saint Anne, in my mind, is very well mapped. I decided to create a fictional city because I wanted the liberty to have the layout as I desired. If I had simply set the characters in another town, I undoubtedly would have been dragged for having locations in the wrong place. I’d hear, “that bar isn’t on that street,” or “that area isn’t zoned for that type of establishment.” I know. It’s called creative license. However, some readers prefer accurate descriptions of locations, and it is jarring to them when an author begins to switch things up. To avoid this situation, I created Saint Anne where everything is where I need and want it to be. Basically, it is how I would reroute that other city if I had the choice—not that I don’t love that place. In fact, I adore it, and that is why I used it as my muse location. Besides, it is fun to create a new city. It’s a type of worldbuilding on a much smaller scale.

That concludes all that I wanted to discuss today. Thank you for reading along and entering my world of Saint Anne and Ice Gladiators. If you would like to read more about the city of Saint Anne, please comment and let me know. I would enjoy sharing it with you. Please tell me about your favorite city or hometown in the comment below. Or just leave a comment on what city you live in. Also, in the future, would you like to read more about the other cities that I have created? If you found this article interesting, please feel free to share it with family and friends. And be sure to keep a lookout for more bonus posts and giveaways that are happening this month. Read to the end to get details.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Resources

What’s In Your Hockey Bag?

Greetings all! I’m back with another bonus post in celebration of the release of my new sports romance, Ice Gladiators, which will be released on 02/15/20. Today’s post is inspired by my mini-me. No, she isn’t a hockey player. She’s a dancer. So, what do dance and hockey have in common, and why did this inspire me? Let me explain.

I used to spend many hours at the dance studio. When my daughter was approximately seven years old, she began to take dance lessons. She had asked to take lessons years before then, but the only studios I could find at that time did not have classes for her age at a time I could work it into my schedule. All of the classes for younger dancers were taught early during the day, while I was at work. See, in the area that I lived, the homeschool population is about thirty percent, or, at least, it was back then. The numbers may have dropped since there have been many changes in both the private and public school systems. Many of the homeschoolers were members of a Home School Association Co-op. If you’re like me, I had no idea what this was. When I heard homeschool, I assumed that parents did all the teaching. While that is the case for some, many homeschool students have classes taught by various people who are associated or affiliated with the homeschool association. Dance was one of those. Let me explain further.

See, the owner of one of the dance studios I attempted to enroll my daughter had a high percentage of homeschool students. In fact, the majority of the students during that period were homeschooled. Dance served as physical education and provided socialization opportunities. The owner had multiple classes designated and reserved for homeschool girls. They were listed as HS classes, which I thought meant high school. Since homeschoolers have flexible schedules, many of these classes occurred early in the day (starting at 1:00 pm and ending around 4:00 pm) while I was still at my day job. The classes available by the time I got off work was for older girls.

It was a shock to me when my daughter asked to take dance. She asked out of the blue one day. At the time, she was on a pee-wee cheerleading squad and taking gymnastics. I’m a firm believer that parents shouldn’t live vicariously through their children. I had enrolled her in cheerleading because it was something I had enjoyed as a child. I thought it would be fun for her, good exercise, and experience of how to work with others on a team since she was an only child. At her age, she hadn’t expressed interest in anything. I could have enrolled her any extracurricular sport, but cheerleading is what I knew. So, when she approached me with wanting to do dance, that was her desire uninfluenced by me. Therefore, off I went to seek her a class. Honestly, I didn’t think she would stay enrolled. Silly, girl! Boy, did she prove me wrong, but I digress.

Anyway, initially, I could not find a class for her. However, the owner of one of the studios placed my name on a mailing list. And then, one year, there it was—a class for her age at a time I could take. The class was only thirty minutes, and I had to drive like a speed demon to get there, but I made it. Now, why go through all of that? Well, I think this background is important to understand the operation of how this studio operated and later evolved. See, this studio was different on two levels. First, it was a Christian-based studio. I lived in an area known as the Bible Belt. One of the reasons the homeschooling was so popular is the majority of those parents felt that the public school system went against or ignored their Christian beliefs. Now, I’m not saying ALL homeschooling parents hold this philosophy or beliefs. That just how it was in my area. The homeschool parents flocked to this studio because it was aligned with their beliefs. As a result, they had a great deal of influence in the studio policies. They were the ones who basically dictated the times of classes for groups of students, and they had first priority in everything. Not only that, but in the early days, the students began class being taught dance history, how to mend tights, how to sew ballet shoes, and French. They even had a book; although not called a textbook, and the homeschooled dancers received a grade. And this wasn’t just an attendance or participation grade as most physical education classes give. No, this was a grade based upon the mastery of skills.

The second point is what I just mentioned. Due to their financial support, the parents of the homeschoolers were the ones who had a huge voice in what the studio looked like, everything from the physical building to the manner of dress. These parents helped upkeep the studio with both building and lawn maintenance. They pushed that the only music played was classical or Christian—even for the contemporary and “hip hop” classes. (What was called “hip hop” would make any MTV watch cringe.) And their influence was especially seen in the dress code, which is what I really want to discuss, as this is the most important to how I arrived at this topic.

The owner had a vision of how she wanted her studio. The parents of the homeschoolers helped her achieve that and push it beyond. This, in turn, caused this studio to be different than all the other studios. Although it was designed to teach children dance principles, parents of homeschool children wanted their children taught as if they would become professional dancers. Their classes were longer and more intense. Non-homeschooling parents. children were taught less stringently and solely for recreation. They were given less intense classes and shorter class times. At recital, this divide was obvious. The homeschoolers danced circles around all the other students, which is why at recital, the two divisions did not share the stage simultaneously.

As the school grew, there became shifts. More non-homeschool pupils enrolled, and the number of homeschoolers decreased. The classes began to merge. However, by then, the policies of the studio were well-established. The dress code strict, including specific colored leotards for certain age groups/dance levels; mesh-seamed convertible tights, specific brand ballet flats (pointe shoes had a separate category), and hair in a bum held by thirty-two bobby pins. (Don’t ask me why thirty-two, because I don’t know. I’m just told that’s how professional dancers do it.) These were just a few of the rules. At the beginning of the year, there was a twelve-page packet outline the rules to parents. The owner was more lenient to the younger students, but honey, oh, when they got older, there was not much tolerance for rule-breaking.

I had no idea at first what I was enrolling my child into, but she loved it. Therefore, I began taking my cues from other parents. I was instructed that I should invest in a robust, quality ballet bag, and I’m so thankful that I did. That one bag lasted, and it was drug everywhere in all sorts of conditions. It also had many interior storage compartments. Most people think the only thing in a ballet bag is a couple pairs of tights, shoes, and a leotard. They’d be wrong. My daughter easily had over fifty items in her bag at any given time—not junk items, but required items. So, I got to wondering. If she had all of that in her bag, what do hockey players have in their bag? I sought to find out.

It took me a minute, but I got in contact with some minor league hockey players and I asked to peek inside their bags. (Fair warning. I advise no one do this without nose guards and air freshener.) Not surprising, their bags are just as stuffed as my daughters. So, if you ever were curious about what in a hockey players’ bag, here is what I found.

  1. Pads & Protective Gear
  2. Shoulder pads
  3. Pants/shorts/girdle
  4. Shin pads/knee pads/leg pads
  5. Elbow pads
  6. Gloves
  7. Slash guards
  8. Helmet
  9. Mouthguards
  10. Hardware
  11. Blade/steel skate pouch (skate guards)
  12. Extra blades
  13. Replacement visor
  14. Screwdriver
  15. Skate blade sharpeners
  16. Stick tape
  17. Shin guard tape
  18. Stick wax
  19. Stick (obviously doesn’t fit into the bag)
  20. Clothes
  21. Water-resistant base layer shirt
  22. Water-resistant base layer pants
  23. Jockstrap
  24. Guarder belt
  25. Socks
  26. Player socks
  27. Skates
  28. Shoelaces
  29. Jersey
  30. Cleaning
  31. Visor cleaning spray
  32. Microfiber visor cleaning cloth
  33. Towel
  34. Miscellaneous
  35. Water bottle
  36. Deodorant

One final note is the players informed me of the importance of the bags themselves. They stated that in their opinion, the best bags had sturdy straps, divided sections, internal storage, compartments, mesh ventilation sections, be brightly lined for easy location of equipment in dimly/poorly lit arena/locker rooms, and constructed of waterproof material.

A special thanks to the players who allowed me to snoop around in their bags and explain it all to me. They really went into detail about brands, performance, function, and fit. There’s no way I could do any of those topics justice in this post. I will, however, mention that most of the players I talked to preferred the brands Bauer and CCM. These are not the only brands out there, and I personally cannot attest to their durability or quality. Anyone wanting to make an investment in hockey equipment should get advice from someone knowledgeable with the sport and sporting equipment. Additionally, this post is not sponsored or affiliated in any way with persons, brands, or products named herein.

As always, I’m interested in reading your opinions and comments. Did I miss list anything that you feel is important and should be included in the bag? Do you play hockey or any sports? What’s in your sports bag? If you would like to see me write more of these types of posts, please let me know in the comments below.

DISCLAIMER: This post is in no way sponsored or affiliated by any person, brand, or product mentioned herein. I make no money or obtain any sort of financial gain or gifts from the mentioned brands.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Resources

Romance Tropes

I see a lot of writers and book reviewers posting romantic tropes that are their favorite or least favorite. I haven’t made one of those posts, and I’m not sure why I haven’t. But the other day, I was in a discussion about tropes. It was very interesting hearing the reasons for likes and dislikes. As I started identifying mine, I noticed a theme emerging. I don’t have to explain it here because as you read the list, it becomes obvious. However, instead of doing a just a favorite list, I will list my favorites, least favorites, and one the leave me “meh” (i.e., I can take or leave).

DISCLAIMER: These lists are just my personal opinion and are not facts. Not everyone will agree, and there are no right or wrong answers. Feel free to disagree and voice your opinion in the comment section.

My Top 10 Favorite Romantic Tropes

  1. Forbidden romance – These can be fun because people always want what they can’t have.
  2. Enemies to lovers – For the most part, I enjoy these romances. However, they can easily go sour. I enjoy watching two people at polar ends come together. But many times, I see this trope written with the balance of power between characters being uneven. For example, the hero wants to build a mall on the park ground the heroine wants to save for some obscure tree that has her parents’ initials carved in it because she’s such an environmentalist and sentimentalist. First, her parents damaged the tree. I don’t care if it supposedly happened twenty years ago. So, she can hop right off that soapbox. The hero is made out to be a money-grubbing bad guy. But the town is dying because all the industries have left, and he’s there to create jobs. I guess it’s more important to starve in a beautiful park than eating daily. What I’m getting at is, many times I think this trope is done poorly is the reason the main characters are enemies is weak. There’s no compromise that will allow them both to be successful because either the park remains in that location or it doesn’t. But suppose in this scenario they both wanted to save the park, one by peace protest/civil disobedience and the other by violence/force. Their goal is common. A realistic avenue for compromise is available, and both can be successful.
  3. Damaged hero – Perfect people are boring. This is another trope I mostly enjoy. When I don’t, it is because in my opinion the hero or heroine is too damaged. Or the damage is imaginary or superficial. I especially enjoy this when the damage is something completely unexpected.
  4. Sports romance/athlete – Do I need to even explain why I like this trope?
  5. Blackmail – This is when the getting gets good. This trope sets up the elements for all kinds of twists and turns. And it can make the good guys act a little crazy.
  6. Rescue workers (excluding military). These are exciting plots. I excluded military,
  7. Gay – What is enjoyable about gay romance is that from the onset, there is a certain balance in characters that already exist.
  8. Office Romance – These are just spicy. They may have elements of all of the tropes that are on my favorite list.
  9. Opposites Attract – I like to laugh, and I find that this trope is highly popular in romcoms. I get to get my giggle on.
  10. Scars – To me, this can be a subcategory of Damaged. I find a lot of these to be underdog romance, and I love seeing the underdog rise to the head of the pack.

 

My Top 10 Least Favorite Romantic Tropes

  1. Fake dating – I can’t get into these stories because I don’t buy the relationship and do not see how other characters would buy it, either. There’s usually some awkward setting where the fake couple is around people they know well and can’t answer basic questions about each other or have weird pauses. The other people just accept this as normal. If that situation happened in the real world, they would be pegged within seconds.
  2. Amnesia – What fun is starting a romance with someone who does not remember who they are? Then, when they regain their memory, they could be a completely different person. Perhaps that’s the point, especially if the story arc of the amnesiac is to morph into a model citizen when his/her entire life he/she has been one step above the bottom of the barrel thuggish.
  3. Arranged marriage – Here’s my deal. I want a HEA. Usually, in arranged marriage tropes, the arrangement has been made by parents or guardians without the consent of the bride, groom, or both. The couple is stripped of choice. If they fall in love, great! They got lucky. But if don’t, they are stuck together. If they split, their families will not be happy. Those aren’t HEA. If they fall in love, did they really or did they just get tired and become complacent? I just think furniture should be arranged. Not marriages. The idea throws me off; and therefore, I’m off for the entire story.
  4. Cowboy – I’m not a western/cowboy type of girl. I would be miserable on a farm or ranch. And city cowboys, I’m not even sure what that means.
  5. Disguise – How do you start a relationship based on a lie? They may come clean, but this is someone faking to be another person. It’s an elaborate test.
  6. Kidnapped – Because kidnapping is a crime, and Stockholm syndrome isn’t cute.
  7. Mistaken identity – Every time I read this trope I ask, “really?” If the mistake is short-lived, then I can roll with that. But to allow someone to continually mistake you for someone else… Nah, bro. For me, this ranks right up there with disguise.
  8. Return to hometown – This wouldn’t be so bad for me if the person returning had a bad else place and met a new person in the hometown. But mostly, this is the geek moving off and becoming successful but returning to take care of a sick parent or to handle a will. Or it’s the bad seed that everyone remembers and can’t quit talking about after years of absence. The return is they are treated the way they were prior to leaving which is why they left. But now, suddenly, after being forced to return, the hometown does not make them want to hurl. Many times, there’s a lot of backstory infodumping. Gag!
  9. Unrequited love – I like equality. The idea that one person spends so much time and effort trying to get the attention and gain the love of another boggles my mind. Usually, someone has to make a change (often the female getting glammed up) before the love interest notice. I think the best romance is one that both parties accept each as is and notice each other. Unrequired love often has inequality in the status of the couple.
  10. Consanguinity – I just can’t.
  11. Bodice Rippers – I had to add one more in this area because I don’t enjoy stories were female characters are too delicate to wipe their own nose and the male characters act like cavemen.

 

Top 10 Romantic Tropes That I’m Ambivalent About; I only enjoy if written creatively

  1. Instaromance – I do believe that couples can fall in true love quickly. Maybe not from the first second before speaking to each other. I call that lust. But I do not think all couple need months and months or years to figure out their feelings.
  2. Alpha hero – If the alpha is a brute, then, no. If he is a self-confident person who just has his act together, okay.
  3. Billionaire – If the character’s only redeeming attribute is his/her money and he/she treats everyone like crap, barking out orders and demands, this is not a character I want to invest time in getting to know. This pulls me right out of the story. But if this is a well-rounded character who happens also to be a billionaire, then I have no problem with that.
  4. Cougar – This is sticky. If this involves a minor or someone who has just become an adult (e.g., an 18-year-old and a 35-year-old), this isn’t something I want to read. Age isn’t always just a number. Some age gaps I can’t wrap my head around. A 70-year-old hooking up with a 40-year-old doesn’t do it for me either. I mean, to each his own. I know these relationships can work, and it isn’t my place to judge. I just can’t imagine how wide age gaps have anything in common. The first thought that comes to my mind is that the cub is a gold digger. And my thought only grows worse from there.
  5. Military – For me, this is overdone. That’s no shade to authors. I’m certain there are great military romances out there, but I can’t read one more navy seal with the power of Superman story. There was a period of about two years that nearly every romance I read was this trope. I just couldn’t get away from it.
  6. Love Triangle – If this involves having to make a decision, either or, then make up one’s mind already. No one has time to be waiting to get picked like a schoolyard game of Red Rover.
  7. Marriage of convenience – I can see this working.
  8. Reunion – If this is a Tom Hanks Cast Away type book, I’m all in. Yes, reclaim your love. Reclaim your life. However, if this end up being another return to hometown because the main character graduated high school, moved away, and someone died which forced the character to return to settle a will, get out and shut both the front and back doors and all the shutters. Not interested.
  9. Royalty – I more “nay” than “yay” on this trope these days, and that usually because the love interest is some commoner who is a duffus trying fit into court, loved by the servants, but hated by the royal family. The royal character is one that needs to be “brought down a peg” to understand the common plight of man. And that person prefers to be “normal”. When I was younger, I enjoyed this more. Maybe it’s because many girls grow wanting to be princesses, and that clung in the back of my mind. But I don’t completely disregard this trope. I’ve read books where this is executed with new spins.
  10. Tiny town – I’m not sure this is so much of a trope as it is just a setting. I tend to dislike these stories because it does not feel that the characters have much of a choice. There are only four single men under the age of thirty—one’s a drunk, one’s gay, and one’s in jail. So, the heroine has gone through all the eligible bachelors and selects one by default. I like options and choices. But if the story has a good cast of characters where the town may be small but not everyone knows everyone, then this can work for me.

And those are my lists. Do you agree or disagree? I look forward to hearing what your favorites and least favorites are. Leave a comment in the section below?

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Resources