Dear Gen(re) Letter


I’m having an identity crisis.

I’ve been reading My Temporary Life by Martin Crosbie. On Amazon, I was surprised to see that it’s listed as a romantic suspense novel. If I twist my brain around enough, I can see that it could potentially be a romance, but from what I’ve read, I’d place Mr. Crosbie’s book in the mainstream/literary fiction genre, not romance. So far, it reads more like a well-written coming-of-age story.

But back to me. After thinking about it for a good while, I pinged some of my friends, ones who’ve read An Untold Want, and asked if it should be classified as a romance. Every one of them came back with a yes.

So now I’m having an identity crisis. [If you didn’t notice the large text / question marks in the photo, it reads I write romance? Really?] I don’t read romance novels. I’m not saying they’re bad or lesser. I’m just saying that they’re not my book of choice. So how is it possible that I wrote a romance novel?

After a bit of soul-searching, I went out to the Romance Writers of America [RWA] web site, and read up on what makes a novel a romance.

For a novel to be considered a romance, there are two requirements. There must be:

1) A Central Love Story

This means that the main plot involves two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work.  I went back and asked my friends, and they indicated that, in their opinion, the relationship between Maggie and JD is the main plot. For me the romance drives the plot, but I feel like the plot centers on her self acceptance and that JD is the transport mechanism, the primary person who helps make it happen. Everyone else sees the self acceptance as a nice side effect of working out the relationship.

2) An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending

Okay. An Untold Want does fit that requirement. It almost didn’t, but — and maybe this is the point where I went off the Women’s Fiction rails and headed down the Romance track — I wanted to tie it up nicely. I wanted Maggie to be happy, to have that optimistic ending. After such as struggle, I wanted her to find the place where she belongs, where she feels safe and comfortable. Maybe it was wishful thinking on my part, that if I can’t have it at least she can. I wanted Maggie to be different, to be not me. To end up better off than I did.

I’m sure that I’ll force myself through some flaming mental hoops before it happens, but I’m positive that sometime in the not too distant future, I’ll be changing the genre on An Untold Want. It’s not a difficult process, at least not technically. And a move like this will potentially open my writing up to a whole new group of readers.

But first, I need to convince myself that I wrote a romance novel.

IU Featured Book Promo

My novImageel, An Untold Want, was listed today as a feature book on the Indies Unlimited website. The IU folks are great to work with, and if you’re serious about being an indie author or are at a loss as to where to find like-minded people, I think you couldn’t do better than the Indies Unlimited group.

They have helpful pages on everything from how to write a book blurb to how to format jpgs.

Take a look for yourself, starting with my featured novel:  IU Featured Book: An Untold Want

Book Cover Colors??

IMG_20140601_185313A FaceBook friend posted a link today that has me pondering the effect of color on the human psyche.

The article is Roses are Red, Violets are Blue: Here’s How Color Affects You. The premise of the article is that because “42 percent of males and 30 percent of females around the globe claim [blue]’s their color of choice” many savvy marketing firms use blue as a primary color in their logos. Followed by red and green, or combinations of primary colors. Now think about it, about all the logos you see everyday and about how many of them use primary colors.

Having worked for Big Blue for many years, where the corporate indoctrination class used to be called “Paint ’em Blue,” well, I got to thinking seriously about it. And the corporation I currently work, their logo is mostly red, but yes, there’s the blue, drawing the eye as if it were flashing come buy something.

So does this preference for colors also filter down into the publishing world? Do books with blue color schemes sell better? I’d love to see statistics on how many books have blue as their primary cover color.  [If anyone out there knows of an article regarding cover colors, please reply to this post.]

Both of my books have black on beige color schemes, which I like, but I wonder if they would attract more attention if they were blue. And red or green. Or yellow. When my next novel is ready to publish, I’m really going to have to play with brighter colors. Hey, every little bit helps.

By the way, if you could take a peek in my closet, you’d see that my favorite color, unlike 30 percent of females, is black. Yes, my favorite color is also the favorite color of many serial killers. Or so I’ve been told.