Posts tagged “romance writers

The 1RomanceEbooks Anniversary Blog Tour with Fiona Vance


1RomanceEbooks Anniversary Blog Tour - Fiona Vance

Welcome to the last stop on the 1RomanceEbooks Anniversary Blog Tour! I’m Fiona Vance, and I’ll be your hostess for the last leg of your trip. This is stop #34. Your last stop should have been #33 Tina Pavlik/The Romance Studio:

Men Who Write Romance: What’s up with That?

I just watched one of my favorite movies again — As Good as It Gets with Jack Nicholson as a crotchety old romance author with obsessive compulsive disorder. It made me wonder about something. Men romance writers.

My husband is an author, and he’s been known to inject quite a bit of romance into his books between the whizzing bullets and bad-guy-butt kicking. So why does the concept of a man writing romance seem so strange?

Shakespeare waxed poetic about love. Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago are all about love. Cassablanca? Yep, a screenplay written by Julius and Philip Epstein and Howard Koch, based on a play by Murray Burnet. Heck, Erich Segal even *called* his book “Love Story.” And we haven’t even gotten to the poets. Browning. Burns. That utterly disreputable Lord Byron (scandalous!). What happened to make us think it’s strange (or ironically comical, in the case of Nicholson) to find a man penning tales of romance?

This wasn’t the first time I’ve wondered about this. Not even the first time this week. A few nights ago, my seventeen-year-old son, who inherited the writer gene, rushed into the living room in the grip of creative passion and shouted, “Dude! I had the coolest idea for a story. There’s this guy, and he’s from the future, like 2050. The guy goes into a bar…”

“… and says, “Gimme a whiskey. And one for my hoss.”


Apparently kids don’t tell those jokes anymore. “OK,” I say. “So a guy from 2050 goes into a bar…”

The creative fervor resumes, and my son starts pacing the living room, gesturing wildly with his hands. “Well, he goes into the bar, and there’s some kind of time warp in there. Like a hole in the quantum foam –we’d have to look that part up to make it believable—but he goes back to 2010. And the bar’s still there, and the bartender is a woman!”

My turn for crickets.

“And women bartenders are… unusual?” I ask.

“No! I mean the guy *falls in love* with the woman! And they have to figure out how to get him home, but in the mean time, he gets freaked out by the blender and is like, ‘what the hell was that!’ – I mean, heck, sorry—and it’ll be really funny! Isn’t that cool?”

How do you tell someone who is absolutely quivering with creative zeal that their brand new “original” idea was once one of the biggest sub-genres of romance?

Worse–how do you tell your seventeen-year-old son with the Shaggy-from-Scooby-Doo beard and the endless metal music screaming from the Wii Rock Band that he just wrote… a romance novel?

And why is it so strange to think it’s so strange?

What happened to all those guys who have written about love throughout the ages? And where are they when I need them?

Long story short—we plotted out the story. He’s gonna bang keys—uh, start writing—as soon as he gets finished killing zombies on the Wii.

What do you think? What’s with this double standard? Can men write romance? Should they? Would you buy it? Leave me a comment with your answer to win a copy of Submission by Fiona Vance.

And yes, in real life, I am a woman. And I don’t have any OCDs or hate small dogs. Although I do do a great Jack Nicholson impression with a pair of Ray Bans.

Don’t forget—the more comments you leave, the better your chances of winning the 1RomanceEbook Anniversary Blog Tour Grand Prize: a Sony E-Reader! After you leave your comment, please visit where you’ll find instructions on what to expect next!

Thanks for stopping by! I can’t wait to hear your answers! Good Luck!


Drive-by Promo

So my book releases in 20 days.  You mean I gotta start talking it up? To strangers?


I don’t really see why I feel so reluctant to start posting excerpts and chatting on loops.  I’ve been involved in marketing for almost 20 years.  I can sell other people’s stuff, why not my own? I’ve spoken to a convention room full of Fortune 500 CEOs.  Why can’t I jump into a loop and say, Hi! Here’s my excerpt?

Well, I think it’s the venom readers and authors loops spew over “drive-by” promo.  You can’t just go into a relevant loop, for instance, “The Loop for Erotic Historical Romance Featuring Hot Heroes,” and post your excerpt about your new erotic historical romance featuring a hot hero.  The “regulars” go nuts.  Who are you? they say.  We don’t know you! How dare you do a drive-by promo if we don’t know you!

Well, do we really need to spend three hours a day promoting our book to the forty-seven online friends we already know? Isn’t the point to get the book in front of new people? STRANGERS?

Does McDonald’s air fifteen commercials asking about our kids, telling us about their husband who won’t put the seat down, and try to be friends with us before they send out that all-important sixteenth commercial… the one with the burgers they want us to buy?

Book promo is advertising. It’s the online equivalent of the book rack in Wal-Mart.  We have to put our cover blurbs into the hands of people who are out looking to buy books.

I say be bold.  Do a drive-by. Find appropriate loops and send out excerpts on their promo day.  Maybe there are lurkers on those lists (like me!) who read promos if the book sounds interesting, even if we don’t know who you are. We might not even care who you are. We might just be looking for something good to read this weekend.After all, when we browse the book racks in the store, do we only look for books by people we know? Hell no.

Find the readers who like your kind of book.  You don’t have to be their friend, you just have to give them a cover blurb that sonds good and an excerpt that wow’s them.  Some people on the loop won’ t like it.  So what? If they aren’t looking for new authors and new excerpts to read, that means they’re not there to buy books in the first place.

Online promo is great.  Online friends are great, too. I met my husband on an online writer’s workshop, so I’ll be the first to tell you those friendships can be real and lasting. But when I met him, I wasn’t trying to sell him my book.  In the words of Offspring, you gotta keep ’em sepa-rated.

And here’s another problem with all this online communication… we spout off our opinions and there will always be people who think we’re an ass. Does that really help us sell books?  Do we really want to know if our favorite author is funny or sweet or a complete social moron when we’re lost in a great story?

All my friends are already gonna buy my book.  Of course, being a complete social moron, that amounts to about six people, if you count the ones who are related to me.  But aside from them, I plan on getting my book in the hands of as many strangers as I can in the next… gulp… 20 days.

Can I go back to my seat now?

I’ve signed up, I’ve picked a theme, I’ve even made my header graphic… can I go back to my seat now?

I thought it would be great to publish a book. You know, finally achieve the dream.  But now that my book comes out in 22 days (ARRRGGH!!) , I’ve got my back to the wall. I’ve realized I have to quit procrastinating and start building a web presence, letting people get to know me, learn about my book, my works in progress, and start jumping up and down at the pep rally, shouting, “Look at me!”

Well, let me fill you in on a little secret.  There’s a reason I completed a dozen full-length novels by the time I was sixteen, and it ain’t becuase I was hangin’ at pep rallies. Remember me? I was that kid in the back row who did her best to remain annonymous.  I even have an unlisted phone number.  I like to say its becuase I’m a scorpio, and I like my privacy, but mostly, its because I’m a loner and I like to do alone things.  Like write books.

But it’s not enough to write books anymore.  Now we gotta sell ’em.  We gotta promote ’em.  We gotta walk into a chatroom or a romance loop and stand up and say, “Hey, guys! So what’s everybody doing after game tonight?”

SO not me.  I’m a lurker.  I love to read the drama on all the loops, but I just hate to reply.  It’s like the internet equivalent of public speaking.  Here’s me:

<watches loop>

<reads posts>

<reads a funny post>

Types, “LOL!”

<rereads reply: “LOL!”>

<wonders, “was that post even supposed to be funny?”>

<wonders, “is that person going to think I’m laughing AT them?”>

<two hours and sixteen Dove darks later…>

<“are people gonna say, ‘who the hell is Fiona Vance?'”>


<closes email and wishes the internet would implode.>

Sigh.  Maybe I can start a 12-step program for Writers Who Hate Attention.

I mean, really. Why do you think they invented pen names? (Hint: A-n-n-o-n-y-m-i-t-y.)