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Archive for January, 2015

billionaireBillionaires are in. If you go to Amazon and search for “billionaire” and “romance,” you’ll find a hundred pages of titles. Fifty Shades of Grey is probably the most prominent of these books, but there are lots of others, and the trend has been around for years. I remember reading Christina Dodd’s Just the Way You Are in 2003, and it was far from the first. It goes without saying that these billionaires are all young, handsome, and darkly attractive—although they usually require the transformative power of love to become decent people.

And it also goes without saying that this whole trend is based on extremely shaky foundations. Even a cursory reading of the news turns up billionaires who mistreat their employees to enrich themselves farther, who engage in fraud to enrich themselves farther, and who are just generally jerks. And the idea of the physically attractive billionaire is easily exploded (see: Trump, Donald—or rather, don’t).

Moreover, romance is the only pop fiction genre that seems to have this love affair with the very rich. In thrillers and mysteries, the mysterious billionaire is more likely to be the villain than the hero. And the vicious global conglomerate is a long-standing tradition in science fiction.

So why do we hang onto this convention when it’s so obviously a serious distortion of reality? One answer, of course, is that we’re in the fantasy business here. Most of us probably know that the very rich aren’t famed for the charm and grace, but we really wish they were. In the more ideal romantic society, money would only be found with the honorable. Moreover, we also cling to another fantasy: that wealth doesn’t buy love. The billionaire hero in most of these books has to be schooled by the poor but honest heroine. And once he’s found this noncommercial love, he becomes that ideal super-rich guy who uses his money for good. Sometimes you really wish a man like Richard DeVos or Rupert Murdoch would read a few romances. Then again, they’d probably find them comic.

Still, I’ve managed to avoid the whole billionaire hero business in my own writing. A couple of my heroines, Docia Kent Toleffson and Deirdre Brandenburg, were wealthy (and a fat lot of good it did them). But like other writers, I usually reserve rich guys for villains. Then again, I write contemporary romance, where middle class heroes and heroines are a long-standing tradition. If I were writing regencies, for example, I’d probably be churning out honorable dukes with the best of them.

Like I said, we’re in the fantasy business. Just as long as we don’t let fantasy shade into our view of the real.

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woman writingOne of my many New Year’s resolutions is to blog more often (or at least more regularly). I’d also like to keep my readers more up-to-date on what’s going on with my books. So I’ve decided to follow the publication journey of my latest book, Finding Mr. Right Now, through all the steps until it finally hits the deck in June.

The publication process prior to this post hasn’t been entirely easy. The manuscript was contracted by Samhain last year—it’s the first book in a projected trilogy about a resort town in Colorado, Salt Box. Unfortunately, by the time Finding Mr. Right Now was contracted, the 2014 calendar was full, so the publication date was pushed forward into 2015. In addition, the manuscript went through several hands until it finally settled. I’m now on my third editor at Samhain, the first two having bowed out for reasons that had nothing to do with my book (honest).

At the moment, we’re working on the cover. At Samhain, authors fill out a detailed cover form, including a short synopsis and descriptions of both hero and heroine (so you don’t end up with one of those generic covers that looks nothing like any of your characters), as well as any pictures that might give the artist some idea of what you’re looking for. Sometimes cover artists have their own ideas about a book without benefit of having read it. I remember the first version of the cover for Venus In Blue Jeans featured a faceless, semi-nude woman clutching her breasts. That one had me in tears, but my editor and I finally worked our way to a cover that was perfect, although the shirtless guy in the background still seems a little incongruous.

Fortunately, the first version of the Finding Mr. Right Now cover looked very good. It features a kissing couple who look a lot like my hero and heroine and some Colorado-style scenery in the background. However, the title had a film strip behind it (the characters are involved in a reality show being shot in Salt Box) that partially obscured the type. My editor asked to have the film strip removed, which helped. But now some of the letters seemed hard to read, so work is ongoing. I’ll have a cover to post for a cover reveal later this year.

Next up? Probably the first edit, which is always fun.

Happy 2015, y’all!

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