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Story Tropes: Lazy or Helpful?

Note on top of rose petals with text: Can Story Tropes Be Good?

Every genre and medium of storytelling uses tropes, and they often have a bad reputation—for good reason. All too frequently, they can indicate lazy storytelling or worldbuilding. But they don’t have to be a bad thing.

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July 27, 2017

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Release News! How Do You Celebrate?

Wine corks spilling out of wine glass with text: Do You Take Time to Celebrate?

Yesterday marked the release of my fifth book, Stone-Cold Heart. Even though I didn’t do anything special, that was a mistake. We should take the time to celebrate our victories, no matter what they are or where we find them.

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May 11, 2017

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Genre Reading: Is “Escapism” a Bad Thing?

Barrel-of-monkey toys linked inside jar to the top edge with text: Can Readers Escape with a Story?

Certain types of reading are sometimes valued more than others. One descriptive term that’s often used as a put-down for genre stories is escapism, but is romance or any other genre story really “escapism”? What does that mean? Is escapism a “bad” thing, and if so, why?

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April 18, 2017

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When Fiction Is Better Behaved than Reality

Stick figures holding hands with text: Consent Matters: In Fiction & in Life

Recently, the U.S. election insanity dragged in the romance genre. Uh, wait, what? Some memes have claimed women shouldn’t be mad about the words used in Trump’s bragging because…Fifty Shades of Grey. Let’s explore this idea—without politics. *smile*

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October 11, 2016

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RWA16: Industry Insights from Data Guy and More

Strings of 0s and 1s with a heart overlay and text: Data Insights from RWA

This year at RWA, I was eligible to attend special published-authors-only workshops geared toward those with more experience, and I want to share some of the highlights from those workshops, as I think we can all benefit from many of the insights.

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July 26, 2016

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The Ultimate #RWA16 Conference Packing List

Stack of old-fashioned suitcases with text: The Ultimate Conference Packing List

I’m looking forward to seeing my friends again, and I’ll be doing my first book signing, but the stress? Ugh. It’s a good thing I have my handy-dandy ultimate packing list from the last time I went to RWA National.

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July 5, 2016

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What Does Your Genre’s Theme Promise to Readers?

Field of green grass with text: What's Your Genre's Promise?

Theme is one of those concepts that can be hard to understand, but by understanding themes, we’ll better satisfy our readers. In the recent debate about the romance genre’s requirement for a happy ending, the controversy comes down to themes, believe it or not. *smile*

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March 24, 2016

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Subjectivity and Reader Shaming

A woman with her head in her hands with text: Have You Ever Been "Reader Shamed"?

If we write genre fiction, we might bemoan the lack of respect, but the same lack of respect occurs at the reader level too. Readers of science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, young adult, and romance have also been looked down on. Many outsiders have attempted to make readers ashamed of their reading choices by judging by subjective measures.

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August 11, 2015

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Is “Love Conquers All” Realistic?

Close-up of a rose with text: How Powerful Is Love?

Every month or so, there’s an author or blogger or journalist making news by putting romance stories down. “They give women unrealistic expectations!” they say. Right. Are they unrealistic because romances end with love and a Happily Ever After? Or do the naysayers think true love isn’t possible or that it isn’t powerful enough to conquer and overcome obstacles? That’s just sad.

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February 12, 2015

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Banned Books? Or Freedom to Write and Read?

Blue sky beyond barbed wire fence with text: Banned Books? Or Freedom to Choose?

This week is Banned Books Week, an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association celebrating the freedom to read. Many have already blogged about the political aspects of this event, so I’m tackling this issue from a less serious perspective. Sort of. *smile*

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September 23, 2014

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