The Romancer: Game Warden Edition

I love anything that has to do with love and romance. I like watching shows like “Married at First Sight” and “Say Yes to the Dress,” so it was a surprise to me when one day I started watching “North Woods Law” on Animal Planet. The show features game wardens going about their daily duty in the wooden state of Maine.

51xfgz17z2l-_sx376_bo1204203200_Even more disconcerting? I loved every minute of it.

I would cheer them on when they caught someone unexpectedly with a warrant; when they went on the search for poachers or investigated a discarded carcass. It is a thrill watching them protect and serve for the resources so many of us might take for granted.

I am sad to say I was one of them. I remember when I was little, my dad would take us fishing. I wasn’t a big fan because a) I would have to touch worms (gross!) and b) if I caught a fish, then I would have to touch that too! So I didn’t stop to think about the many other people who enjoy such a thing. How over-fishing depletes our resources. It was a great glimpse that broadened my horizons and made me more environmentally aware.

So, what does this have to do with romance?

Recently, I wondered if anyone had written a romance featuring game wardens. Wouldn’t that offer some great growth and development – an 41k7jvh1t3lopportunity to research? (As a librarian, I am all about the research). I know there are many police officer romances, but what about game wardens located in Maine? In Texas? Even Washington State? (They all have shows too on Animal Planet too, fyi.)

I researched a few promising books on a Goodreads compilation list, and I do plan to go through them (and review them on here!) . My question, however, is if anyone else has noticed some careers that are overlooked in romance?

My twitter feed has been buzzing lately with diversifying what we find on our shelves. I am a big proponent of being able to read what you want to read.

51hbg2mf93l-_sx331_bo1204203200_But what about diversifying careers as well? There’s a multitude of firefighters and construction workers and doctors, but what about a post office worker who happens to meet the love of his life when her mailbox happens to catch fire? Or perhaps a female mechanic that works on Big Rigs and meets her match in a gruff, loner lumberjack that happens upon her one snowy evening?  A commercial fisherman whose prime catching spot just so happens to be a rival private fisher woman?

Where’s the average Joe in romance?

So, if anyone has some good options/ideas please comment and share. Look me up on twitter @cornymuffin009 and retweet a book that you just happened to have read or heard about at your local library.Until then, check out the ones I featured in this blog post (and one Park Ranger story. Slightly different, but the premise sounded awfully good.) and let me know what you think!

Happy reading, all!

My Current Project

Hi all!

Today, I’d like to share my current project, “Loving Lady Georgianna.” It’s the second book in my regency historical series – the Spirited Brides Trilogy. It follows Lady Georgianna (Georgie) who is abandoned one evening by Lord Vincent Thorne who promises to take her to Gretna Green to marry. The problem? He never shows up.

Years later – after being forgotten by the love of her life and being burned in a manor fire – Georgie is done hiding. She reaches a betrothal arrangement with the Duke of Burkeley. She will be married by season’s end, and hopefully with child, soon after.

Until Thorne catapults back into her life with a wager. A better husband is to be found – him. But first, he needs her forgiveness. He’ll get Georgie to lower her defenses and then propose himself as her only option. Although, he has no intention of bringing a child into society. It’s a minor hiccup.

Or so he thinks.

Can forgiveness be found? Will their past love remain simply that? A mistake?

It’s a battle that they both want to win. But soon, perhaps losing doesn’t seem so bad…

Loving Lady Georgianna

Click on here to check it out now!

 

By Women, For Women, About Women

My local library recently had a showing of Love Between the Covers, a documentary on the authors behind the booming Goliath that is the romance novel industry. I was excited to see this for a few reasons. 1) I am an aspiring romance novelist (I do have one complete manuscript and have started on my second.) 2) I love to read them. Any romances – paranormal, romantic suspense, young adult, new adult, regency historical. 3) Because, hey! I got to see it for free and it was on something I am interested in (bonus!).

I came in with expectations, and it met and exceeded them. Hands down.

Many of the authors that were interviewed I did know or had heard of. The Queen Bee, Nora Roberts (who also writes as J.D. Robb). Contemporary romance writers such as Jill Shalvis, Kristen Higgins, and Susan Donovan. African-American historical and contemporary author, Beverly Jenkins. Historical romance novelists, Elizabeth Essex and Eloisa James.

I could go on with the cameos, but for now, let’s just say we get a look at many different authors from all over the romance genre.

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They talk about what makes romance such a publishing giant on the one hand, and a genre so frowned upon, on the other.

The plus? The HEA, or Happily Ever After. Beverly Jenkins points this out as being something extremely important to its readers. It’s nice to know that there are such things as happy endings. It doesn’t mean readers don’t understand that it is, and will only ever be, a fiction story. Readers know it’s fiction. They enjoy that it’s fiction. One lady mentions how she turned to reading romance novels as she went through her chemo treatments. Another confesses how unhappy she felt in her marriage so she turned to reading and writing them.
Beverly Jenkins also goes in-depth into being an African-American romance author. That’s something she brought to the table that she saw a lack in, something that brings women to tears when they meet her.

And it’s not only for African-American women. It’s for all women.

Jenkins asks, if you can relate to a story about a paranormal creature (like a werewolf) how can you not find something to relate to with an African-American hero or heroine?

Now, the downside?

The preconceived notions of the romance genre.

They’ve always been there, and they haven’t gone away.

One interviewee summed it up best, why these novels are looked down on: these books are by women, for women, written about women. The “scribbling” women, as Nathaniel Hawthorne was loathe to point out, that have gone on to become bread winners from doing what they love.

Which leads to what the literature that has come before romances and their portrayal of female characters.

Examples such as the “Scarlet Letter” and “Tristan and Isolde” where strong women that go against the grain are punished and brought down. The stories that end in tragedies.  One woman states in the documentary that these stories are “toxic” to women.

Toxic.

Nora Roberts, in particular, classifies “Romeo and Juliet,” as something that has been held and heralded as this timeless love story, but what she says is simply a tragedy. It’s not romance.

It’s not how romance novelists and readers see women, see love.

In romance novels, readers want the women to win, to come out on top. Where it’s okay for them to experience sexuality, to be courageous, to act. Readers value that. The strong heroine as well the hero who comes along for her even when “she has all her shit together.”

So, why does the population look down on romances?

Last year, another librarian and I did a Blind Date with a Book display. We wrapped books and placed a quote from that book on the front cover, hoping patrons would grab it and take it home to read. They also took home a slip of paper asking if they had liked the book.

I’m not sure what book this one patron had chosen, but I remember what he or she had written about the book on that piece of paper.

The patron had not enjoyed it.

“It was a romance, and it proved why I don’t read them. They’re stupid.”

And I wished then, as well as now, that I knew what book that person had read, what he or she did not like about it, and if, perhaps, his or her preconceived notion of the genre had influenced that opinion. Did the patron even finish it?

I’ll never know. But what I do wish? That I could get that person to watch this documentary. Not to get them to read a romance. We all have the right to read what we want to read, and no one should be able to tell you otherwise.

That would be censorship.

No, what I want is everyone to experience what I did. That this romance writing world has become a community – a source of strength. It’s inspiring.

Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan are highlighted. They were introduced to one another, both having come from difficult marriages, and discovered how much they mutually liked and respected the other. Now, they storyboard together regularly.

Another example? Elizabeth Essex, an established romance novelist, and Joanne Lockyer, an Australian aspiring novelist, that had turned into critiquing partners for each other’s  work.

By the end of the documentary, I felt as if these women were part of my group. Not only do you get to meet the real people behind the novels, but you meet the real people who have found so much value, so much hope, and so much love in what they do.

And they share it with each person sitting in those chairs watching the show.

It’s personal.

100% personal.

And for once, I don’t need my personal space back.