I’m a writer of paranormal romance, working on the sixth book in my series, currently, even though the first book still needs to be published.
Now lately I have realized that my romantic male protagonists are very attractive – all of them. (Of course, I measure my taste here, so please don’t hold it against me).
Then I started thinking: I’m an avid reader and occasionally read the one or other steamy hot romance novella. And I never even once read a description of an unattractive protagonist. They all were described as extremely good looking, and of course, they need to be. Otherwise, the entire book would be kind of weird.
A quick example. The Twilight Series. Edward Cullen was described as beautiful, breathtaking, Angel and so on. Would this series have been only half as successful if the protagonists had been merely mediocre or even having some obvious flaws?
Now, let’s be honest, which one below here is the ‘better’ Edward Cullen?
I don’t want to be unfair here. To each her own, right? What I find attractive is not necessarily attractive to another woman.
But what all these men in books have in common is the fact that they are well groomed. It’s always refreshing to read about a man who showers. And who knows that a nose hair trimmer is not only good to foam up milk for the cappuccino. (Not to talk about the fact that a nose hair is only a nose hair as long as it’s inside the nose. When it grows out, it’s a mustache).
Men should, in fact, be trimmed. It’s every woman’s personal taste to find a man with either more or less hair attractive. Let’s see. I consider armpit hair that can be plaited not particularly sexy. But hey… if it can’t be trimmed, for whatever reason, at least the guy should use conditioner. But that’s only a detail.
Having a look at a hairy chest, who can say which one of these would I consider my protagonist?
In my case, it would be the right one – probably because that sexy hairline from the belly button down South would drive me crazy. But not the too much hairy chest, just the right amount. I wouldn’t be too happy caressing my man’s chest and finding dried ice cream from the last beach trip, croissant crumbs or Lego stones in there… Trim or waxing once in a while wouldn’t do any damage. At least some guys knew then what we women are going through to be beautiful for them.
Or what about a trim in the ‘Southern Region’? And I don’t mean the thighs or feet. I’m more talking about the – uhm – bell tower. I think to keep it carefully trimmed, and in order, isn’t asked too much, is it?
I mean, rainforest aside, it doesn’t need to look like a bare-nosed wombat. Just sexy and clean.
I mean, after all, I knew one man, Holy Smokes when he took his undies off I thought he was smuggling a beaver!
Okay. I think I have been pretty open about my imagination of sexy protagonists. But now I’m curious. I’m sure there are characters on the evil side, the bad ones. Do we always describe them as unattractive? What are the features to ‘make’ them unattractive or the antagonist? How are you doing this in your book? Thank you for your advice.
Lately, I was invited to dinner at a friends’ house. Dinner was at 8 pm, and before dinner, she made sure her kids were in bed. She’s an amazing mother and told me, after their good night story they fell asleep quite quickly.
When I hear “good night story,” all alarms are ringing and shrilling in my head, remembering the stories I heard when I was a kid. So I asked her if she tells her kids Grimm’s fairy tales. Her facial expression was priceless. She swallowed her food and asked back: “Do I look sadistic?” I had to laugh… To us, this subject was over and out.
But in my head, I tried to recap what I remember from the fairy tales our parents read to us when we were little.
The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids
The wolf not only threatens the seven little goats but also eats six of them alive since the youngest could get away and tell their mother what happened. The mother grieved but then got the wolf who was too full to do much. While he was sleeping she cut his stomach open and let her six kids out (who were alive!), filled his belly with stones, stitched him up and he drowned when he wanted to drink. – What a happy end.
Holy Smokes: One wolf, swallowing six young goats – whole?
He doesn’t wake up when he’s cut open? And wolves are dangerous. I know, it’s a fairy tale and no reality show.
But hell we were scared to death from wolves. (And for some reason I don’t like goats either – I think they’re kind of dumb, standing there in a row waiting until the wolf swallowed the brother is a little weird). I can’t help myself, to me this doesn’t make sense.
Little Red Riding Hood
The girl’s grandmother lives in the woods, right? And she’s sick. What daughter leaves her sick mother in some wooden box out in the forest? And not only that: She sends her young daughter all by herself to visit her grandmother and bring her food! And a wolf eats an entire grandmother. Hungry Beast.
A mother who knows this is a deep dark forest, and there are all kinds of animals and seriously? You are sending your kid out there, all by yourself?
Are you out of your mind?
Worse is that there are mothers telling their kids this fairy tale. Why? In preparation of sending them around, all by themselves? GREAT!
Hansel and Gretel
Dear parents, think about it – do you ever want to tell your kids that you could be too poor to feed them? With this fairy tale, you more or less inform them that, in case money gets rare it could happen you’ll take them into the deepest forest and leave them there!
Additionally, you do tell them that there are really, REALLY ugly old women practicing black magic and threaten to stuff them in preparation to enjoy them as a meal! (I wonder why only the boys, but that’s a detail).
Be prepared that kids think about all kinds of things and the thought will occur that you might not wait until money is rare but try to get rid of them the next chance.
What should I say? At least this time there’s no wolf involved.
Little Brother and Little Sister
This is probably one of the weirdest fairy tales existing. Siblings who escape from their stepmother and ugly step-sister because they are fed poorly. They run away and go into hiding. Unfortunately, the stepmother has overheard their plans of running away and, being a witch, has bewitched all water holes in the forest. Soon the brother drinks from one and turns into a deer. You get the feeling they’re like six and seven years old when they take off.
But with what happens then I have to admit, I must have been wrong.
The king goes hunting and when the deer/brother hears that he wants to go out. (why in all the world is this dummy going outside in hunting season?) – However, the third day the wounded brother runs back to the hut they’re hiding, followed by the king, who sees the sister, falls in love within a Nano-second and gets married to her.
And then, two sentences later she all of a sudden becomes a mother, then ill, and then stepmother and stepsister become involved again somehow – until the happy end.
Which means, when the siblings took off, they must have been far over 17. And they can’t feed themselves? In the woods, they live off nuts and berries, and there it works? And she says yes to a man who just walked in the door for the first time? She must have been really hungry.
I wouldn’t want to tell this fairy tale to a child. It’s odd and confusing and doesn’t make the slightest sense.
But again: At least this time there’s no wolf involved.
A young princess who had a bad fairy wishing her that she’d die when turning sixteen, by stinging herself on a golden spindle. Three other fairies, the good ones, can turn death into a 100-year-sleep. That spell can only be broken by either the 100 years or a kiss of true love.
So far so good.
Now: be realistic, a spindle belongs to a spinning wheel. When in all the world does a princess EVER get close to a spinning wheel? She’s a princess; she’s got nothing to do there. For a while I considered my mother planned to sell me as a slave to a wool company. But at the time I grew up machines had largely replaced the common spinning wheel I doubt I was in real danger.
I was told that this poor girl, turning sixteen, fell asleep for – forever. And the castle was closed down and locked in by thorn bushes. Many men have cut and stung themselves to death by trying to get through and to the princess.
No wonder I’m completely screwed up when it comes to men! When hearing this fairy tale, I must have gotten the impression a man would give his life to get to a woman. I could think a guy would really fighting his way through thorn bushes but losing his life trying. And then I thought a man is walking into a room seeing a woman sleeping there and kissing her awake could really offer her a kiss of true love!? No wonder I got a completely surrealistic ‘enemy-image.’
Even when I was little, I had problems to believe parts of that story. A fairy? Birds? Doves? A tree? Gold and silver? And how on Earth can anyone walk in a glass shoe?
To match the shoe, both stepsisters cut parts of their feet off. I mean: can anyone really be this hell-bent on getting a prince? (Let’s say: remember Prince Charles? Thinking about him really make me feel the need of cutting of something – but I guarantee, that aren’t parts of me.) And how can any mother tell her little daughter that there are women cutting parts of their own body off to get married? Would I consider this teaching your little girl the total self-abandonment?
I’m not really sure where this story came from, but it seemed around the time brothers Grimm were alive, women did whatever necessary to lay hands on a man.
A very similar fairy tale exists in the Czech Republic, Tři oříšky pro Popelku (Three hazelnuts for Cinderella), written originally by Božena Němcová. In the 70s this fairy tale was turned into a movie, and I like it by far better than the Grimm-version. And just in case you’re curious: It does exist in English and does not scare children to death. Just click here
A poor princess girl, treated badly? – Check. A bad, horrible stepmother being a terrible witch and queen? – Check. Magic? – Check. A prince trying to save the princess? – Check. All there for a horribly great fairy tale. I just think there are a few odd things in this story. Let’s start with the name of the main character. Who in all the world names her daughter “Snow White”? That’s not a name; it’s a color.
Second: The description of the princess: skin as white as snow, hair as black as ebony, lips as red as rose. This description scared me as a child already! It’s unnatural. Nowadays I suspect the girl must have been a vampire. But that’s only a detail. (The story does not say she sparkled in the sun though.)
Third: You tell your kid about that poisonous fruit, and you guarantee your daughter or son are making sure they steer clear of apples from that moment on. – Hey – you never know, right?
And last but not least: Are you going to tell your child it’s not only ‘okay’ to run off from home, but then you move in with seven single guys? Nice role model, I have to say.
I know there are so many more fairy tales. But I figure I just picked the best known here not to end up writing a 6 feet blog post.
Are there any oddities in fairy tales you know – or heard as a child? Please, share them with us.
Kristen Lamb published a phenomenal blog post about her taste and the reason shame is the beating heart of all great stories. I admire her knowledge and her willingness to share it. Thank you, Kirsten!
I read a ridiculous amount of novels and I’m very picky, namely because I have the attention span of a fruit fly with a crack habit. Like most modern readers, it takes a lot to grab then keep my attention.
Most books I end up putting down or returning to Audible for another. There are books I finish then forget. Most are meh. Good way to kill time not much more. But then there are the ones that stick, the stories I never grow tired of reading and rereading and recommending and as you can see, I have very eclectic taste.
Some of my fondest loves are Heart-Shaped Box, Big, Little Lies, American Gods, Prisoner of Hell Gate, The Joy Luck Club, Luckiest Girl Alive, the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly, The Lincoln Lawyer, and anything written by Fredik Backman Britt Marie Was Here being my favorite.
Yet what do all these great stories have in common? Why do they make me laugh and cry and cheer? What is so cathartic about these books?
To continue reading Kristen Lambs post, please go to her blog by clicking the link below:
It’s been seven years that I welcomed my desktop to my home… In all these years it has been a loyal and trustworthy accomplice to me in everything I had planned. But I feel it’s getting tired. Even though I can hear it works hard to fulfill my every need it has significantly slowed down.
I would say – another six months and my faithful friend is going to be retired. (or falling into a coma whichever comes first).
To me, this means I need to think about a successor for my dear electronic brother.
After thinking for quite some time and considering the move I have in mind, amongst other things, I decided for a laptop instead of a desktop. Well, that decision was easy, compared to deciding on a model.
The questions I had to ask myself to find THE laptop have been numerous, and I’m still not convinced I thought about everything. Finally, I found a page http://youthvillage.co.ke/top-10-best-laptops/ where they listed the ten best laptops. I was still not sure if one of these would be right for me.
I admit I’m lost. I feel overwhelmed with the sheer choices and possibilities. I’m a writer – and I work on a computer daily… but I’m still only a user, not an IT-expert.
To be honest: It doesn’t help. I’m still no expert and what they list here doesn’t tell me a lot. Yes, some things help – but some of the more detailed descriptions leave me more confused than ever.
I don’t know which one I should pick. I only know I won’t buy an Apple product. After this decision, it still leaves me with five laptops and just as lost as I was before.
Is there anyone who can give me a recommendation? Is someone using one of these laptops and can give me a review? Or is there any other suggestion or advice I can follow? I’d appreciate every help I can get.
Hello, my name is L. Loren and I am a writer of LoveRotica, love stories with an edge of sexy.
1. When did you start writing?
I have always made up stories since I can remember, however I didn’t get serious until about two years ago. I released my first LoveRotica series last year.
2. What motivates you to write?
I am constantly coming up with concepts for new stories. I have so many notes on future projects it is comical. At least once a week I have something new I want to write. The problem is it takes a lot longer than a week to write a novel, so I am a little back logged.
3. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?
I write steamy romance novel. Funny thing is I had never read a romance novel until a few years ago. I had a blogger friend recommend a book to me that she was very passionate about. I decided if she was that excited about it, I would read it. Mind you, I had a somewhat closed mind about this genre when I started reading. Boy was my mind opened! The book was Scarred by Twyla Turner and it was the first book in a series. Well I tell you, not only did I read the first book, I devoured the entire series and wanted more. I read everything she had written until that point and wasn’t satisfied. I needed more. I had the romance bug. Then I started thinking that I could possibly write romance books. I had already released a young adult book under my real name, so I decided to write romance under my pen name.
4. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
I am a big believer is speaking things into existence, the power of positive energy. That being said, I would like to turn my books into blockbuster movies. That is my ultimate goal as of now. In the meantime I would love for them to become best sellers and be able to earn a living at writing. I would also like to see my brand extend beyond books and movies. I have plans for other business ventures that I will keep close for now.
5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
Knock on wood. I have not had to deal with that. I hope I never have to.
6. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
I am still a hopeful author, but I would say to any writer to be vigilant and persevere. There will be times when you question if this is the right thing for you, but if you love it don’t give up on it. Expect to do most of the work after the novel is written and remember no one will love your book babies more than you. Treat them accordingly.
7. Please, tell us about your work.
My latest novel is a sexy adult contemporary fairy tale called Egyptian Nights. The main character Egypt Wilson is a young woman who was cursed by her other’s dying declaration that she was unworthy of love. Her life since then was spent avoiding relationships with men, only using them for one thing. Then she meets Harper Beckmann who has the ability to see through her mask and heal her heart. Egypt, aided by her Naughty Fairy Godmother, finds that Beckmann is the one man who can break her curse should she decide to let him in. The story is like most fairy tales and ends with a happily ever after, but you’ll have to read it to see just what that is.
This is a stand-alone novel – the first in the Triple Threat Series about triplet sisters and their journey to self discovery. I am currently working on Book 2, which will be out this summer and Book 3 is scheduled for a fall release.
My first series, The WanderLynn Experience is a 3 book cliff hanger series about a woman named Lynn Sutton, who after raising her orphaned niece and nephew, is finally able to concentrate on her love life. For the past seven years she had focused on the kids and running her luxury concierge business that caters to the rich and famous of Atlanta. Seven years is a long time to go without companionship and once the kids are off to college, she has her eyes set on one man, Connor Wyatt. Connor is her nephew’s mentor and he and Lynn became friends as a result. After his divorce, he finally decides to seek the one thing that would make him happy, Lynn. They go through ups and downs of relationships and dealing with ex wives, evil mothers and overly aggressive friends to make their relationship work. The series follows them from a friends to lovers perspective and ends with a bang. Book 1 is The Layover, Book 2 Island Adventures and Book 3 Destination Home.
Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!
The Story Reading Ape made sure that I read this blog post, written by Susan Spann of “Writer Unboxed”. I found it informative, interesting and very helpful and couldn’t resist making sure that word is spread about this blog post. Thank you, Susan Spann!
Copyright law can seem confusing, but authors need to know the basics—especially when (and whether) to register a copyright, and what to do when using a pseudonym. As a publishing lawyer, I work with copyright issues (and authors) all the time, and today, I thought I’d take a closer look at some popular myths about copyright law and how it applies to novels and other creative works.*
Myth #1: You have to register copyright in order to own the copyright in your work.
False. Registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is not a legal requirement for copyright ownership. Copyright attaches to “qualifying works**” automatically at the time of their creation. However, copyright registration is generally required in order to file a lawsuit against infringers, and to claim certain benefits under the U.S Copyright Act, so authors should register copyright within three months of a work’s initial publication.
(**Short stories, novellas, novels, anthologies, poetry, and similar fiction and non-fiction works all generally qualify for copyright protection.)
Myth #2: Authors benefit from copyright registration.
Author Steve Boseley, who has posted on my blog a guest post on the best time to tweet, recently published a post filled with tips on how to compose the perfect Tweet. I’m copying here his main tips, but I urge you to check out his complete post if you’re using Twitter to promote your books, as he also has some great tips on Twitter etiquete.
Tip #1: People Are Looking For Bargains
Here is what people are looking for on Twitter:
Image via Steve Boseley
Notice a pattern? Yes, the two most popular items are discounts and promos, and free stuff!
Tip #2: Ask A Question
Phrasing your tweet is obviously paramount to its success. One remarkably successful way to increase interaction with a tweet is to phrase it as a question:
We’re excited to introduce the new Social Icons Widget, which allows you to connect with visitors on your favorite social media networks.
The new widget supports over 40 popular social platforms, from the ubiquitous Facebook and Twitter, to crafter haven Etsy, to artsy enclaves like DeviantArt and Dribbble. Highlight music or podcasts through SoundCloud or iTunes, or connect with your community via Meetup or Yelp. Business owners will also appreciate being able to hook up their company’s LinkedIn page.
The new widget offers more flexibility, letting you choose from among three icon sizes: small, medium, and large. Pick the one that looks best on your site! You can even drag-and-drop the links in your Customizer to reorder your social icons.
Activate it now by going to My Site → Customize → Widgets. For self-hosted WordPress users, this new widget will be available in Jetpack soon.
Author Jemima Pett has published a wonderful and very sensitive guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog – about the reality of online friendships.
I wish I could tell I had ‘enjoyed’ reading it… of course, in a way I have. Her writing is excellent! – But the experience she made about losing online friends by them passing away, reminded me of a few of my online friends I have lost. I never met them personally – but still, it hurt to lose them. I grieved.
Thank you for this sensitive post, Jemima.
How real are online friendships? How do you handle the inevitable?
If you don’t have a companion animal, and avoid all those Facebook memes of cuddly puppies, cute kittens and ridiculous antics of parrots, you may have flicked over some of TSRA”s guest posts recently.
What you may not realise is that those pets bring people together too.
Friends I haven’t met
Of course, any shared hobby brings like-minded people together. The power of Facebook and other social media sites is that people who like the same things—whether actual people, or hobbies, music, animals or books—find each other. And just as regulars feel they ‘know’ the Story Reading Ape, so we get to ‘know’ people we interact with on Facebook, Like on pages, or visit on blogs.
Many of my writing ‘friends’ I have never met, and I’m never likely to meet, in truth. Some of them I know by…