Archive for February, 2012

Exotic names: Rafe, Hunter, Jason, Styx, Slade, Fury etc. Try a few old reliables like Sam, John or Robert.

Heroines who are immediately identifiable by their red, blonde or red/blonde hair, dainty frame, cute features and huge breasts. Especially if those heroines are called Cat and are terminally stupid. Romance readers are smart, we’d like to cheer for a smart heroine.

Villains that are immediately identifiable by their bad fashion sense, greasy hair and stinky breath.

Stories where the romantic conflict is the hero and heroine bitching at each other for two hundred pages before admitting they were in love all along.

He’s a man whore, she’s never been kissed. These days, readers get a bit queasy when they meet heroes with countless sexual partners – just reading about them makes you want to book an STD test. And heroines that are twenty-five and never been kissed make us very suspicious. Particularly if she’s got green eyes and a mouth made for sin.

Romances without a plot. Sure, we want the great characters and the hot sex, but we really need a good plot to hold it all together.

Bad research. If your novel is set in Regency London, at least do some basic research about London and the period. Read a bit of Jane Austen, if nothing else. Not every member of a noble family is Lady Cat.

Forgetting about personal hygiene. Yes, early morning sex is romantic, but just remember the bathroom and toothbrush issues.

Heroines with lots of cats, especially if she refers to them as her children and gives them names that end with her surname, for instance Prickly Paws Perkins. Even to someone who likes pets, it screams “Crazy Cat Lady”.

Using real actors to describe your characters. Sure, Al Pacino had his moments, but these days, he looks old and in need of a good wash.

Characters that ride horses or go shooting or fight with swords, and the author couldn’t be bothered learning how to do those things, or even to run it by someone who does know. Few things are more irritating to someone who rides than a “mighty white stallion waving its paws in the air after the rider reigns sharply.”

Heroines trained in sword fighting, guns, Latin, military tactics and a whole lot of other things that girls at the time were not trained in, unless you can give a really good reason for it. Don’t assume she can pass for a boy if she puts

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on a pair of trousers. If she really can pass for a boy, remember to make sure she’s got small breasts.

Heroines that march to the mirror to find out what they look like. Real women don’t stand gazing at themselves thinking “Long straight brown hair, kissable lips, perky breasts and a tiny waist.” They look to see if their lipstick is smudged or if their collar is twisted.

Sex scenes involving throbbing or pulsing appendages, and heroines who leak, gush or drip. Sex in the snow – can you say “shrinkage”? Sex in the sand – can you say “Ouch!”? Sex in the hay – can you say “Fleas”?

Champion athletes, bodybuilders, martial artists where the story never shows how much work goes into getting there. No-one gets that body/reflexes without hours of work in the gym every day. While we’re on the topic, muscles that result from lucky genetics are not superior to muscles acquired by hard work in the gym.

Romance readers are fine with romances that stop at the bedroom door, but if you go through that door, do it properly. “He thrust in and out and she had an orgasm” is not sexy.

Heroes that rape the heroine, and somehow it’s all right in the end because it proves she’s a virgin or because she forgives him, or because they really love each other. I’m all for a bit of rough sex, as long as both of them are enjoying themselves. Rape is never acceptable.






Things I learned from Judge Judy

16.  Think before you text, post on Facebook or e-mail. Once it’s in writing, it’s permanent, and you never know when it’s going to reappear in court. And your little pet names for your boss and your strange spelling will be revealed to the world.

15.  If you have a dog, or a child, you are responsible for what they do. Keep them on a leash.

14.  There is no case so stupid that someone won’t take it to court.

13.  If you tell the truth, you don’t need to have a good memory. If you tell lies, you’ll eventually get caught.

12.  A contract doesn’t have to be in writing, but it does involve two people agreeing to it. One person saying “You have to pay me back,” does not make a contract.

11.  Don’t lend money to friends. Chances are you will lose the money and the friend. If they need it, and you can afford it, give it as a gift.

10.  Don’t sue your children. Even if they don’t pay rent or tidy their room, suing them won’t make for happy family relationships.

9.  You know when teenagers are lying? When their mouths are moving. Do not assume that the story your child tells you is the truth.

8.  A child has the right to the love and support of both parents. Just because you hate his guts, you shouldn’t badmouth the other parent, or mess about with custody or child support.

7.  Don’t bail anyone out of jail. Okay, perhaps your husband or your child, but that’s it. Definitely not friends of friends or new boyfriends.

6.  Don’t have boyfriends who need to get bailed out. Don’t move in with men who have a criminal record. Don’t have babies with them.

5.  Get your own flat, no matter how tiny it is. If you share a flat with anyone, make sure your name is on the lease, and pay by cheque or get a receipt for all rent payments.  Agree in writing how the utility bills will be paid.

4.  You cannot put your hands on anyone else. No matter how annoying they are, what names they call you, as soon as you lift your hand, you’re in the wrong.

3.  Don’t have more children than you can afford. If you do have children, collect cans or wash dishes if necessary to make money to support them.

2.  Get a job. Everyone has to work.

And the number one thing I learned from Judge Judy

1.  Beauty fades, dumb is forever.

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