Tag Archives: #ANewKindofRomance

Hacking GoodReads to find your perfect book (and help others find theirs)

I’ve been looking through some GoodReads romance lists and it’s fairly disappointing. Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels are still listed in top romance categories like “Hottest Adult and Young Adult” (emphasis mine). It’s past time to fight back against this type of thing.

It’s time to hack GoodReads.

I found hope for this in the comments on the “Hottest” and “Most Popular” lists. Romance readers are ready for—and have discovered—indie romances in so many more than fifty shades. Romances by authors of different ethnicities, romances featuring other than the typical male/female couple. Romances without BDSM—remember those?

Are you a reader who’s ready to hack GoodReads and lead the revolution? Here’s a “how-to” guide.

  1. Search for lists with “different” or “indie” in the heading. They’re out there. A list called “Books You Wish More People Knew About” has 16,000+ books!
  2. Create a list! Did you just read the wackiest book ever with a werewolf heroine whose cubs are in school so she joins the PTA? Find some friends who’ve read wacky books that don’t fit into any other lists and make the list. Cross genre is a definite thing in today’s world.
  3. Most of all, if you’ve read a book that you loved, find a list for it! Especially if it’s an indie author. Indie authors would love to see their books on a list where more readers might find it.
  4. Comment on the “Hottest” and “Most Popular” list if you know an author or title which should have been included. You never know when you might be able to point a reader to a book they’ll love but never would have found without you!

The revolution in the publishing industry has begun. Battle lines have been drawn between big publishers and small, between more of the same and originality. The battlefields are places like Amazon, Smashwords, indie book stores, chain bookstores, online ebook retailers and especially a place like GoodReads. What’s at stake? The right of the reader to buy into the ideas of their choosing—not what’s chosen for them.

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Filed under Publishing, Writing

Blog Tour Stop: My Evolution as a Writer

Teaser_BecomingMagicToday  I’m promoting Becoming Magic over on Ally Swanson’s blog “Fabulous and Brunette.” Please stop by and say hello! I’m giving away a $50 gift certificate (Amazon or Barnes & Noble) to one random visitor to my tour, so make sure you register to win while you’re there!

Ally asked me to write a guest post about my evolution as a writer. This works perfectly for me, because Becoming Magic was a sort of turning point in my writing career. Time and again I’ve been asked if my books are like Fifty Shades. I can never tell or not if people are happy with my answer, either. Because they’re not and never have been, but I, like many in my genre, have fallen into other traps of our genre.

I’ve been guilty of glorifying alpha males. If you ever actually meet an alpha male, it’s unlikely you’d actually want to spend much time with him. Being demanding isn’t, in my book, very sexy.

I’ve also had themes like kidnapping (one was friendly and one was necessary, but still). No, guys, we don’t want to be kidnapped. Oh, and a couple of times the heroine could have claimed sexual harassment—and in one case, the hero!

On “Fabulous and Brunette” I talk about how it’s important to avoid these issues and how it is possible for a hero (and heroine) to be sexy without them. So join me over there to explore the “Evolution of a Writer”.

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A New Kind of Romance: Changing the soul of romance literature

I just read a wonderful article in The New York Times by Alexandra Alter called “The Changing Face of Romance Novels”. The article addressed how romance novels are slowly changing to more accurately reflect the growing diversity in our world. However, Alter points out that many of the more diverse authors who write diverse romance must turn to alternative publishing outlets to get their books to readers as traditional publishing does not embrace change—at least not right away.

The article got me thinking. More diversity is a wonderful thing. More accurately reflecting the world we live in is invaluable. And yet, that doesn’t address what I see as the core problem in my genre the way my new kind of romance will. You see, though the face of literature definitely needs to change with changing times and audiences, the soul of romance must be addressed as well.

Gustave Flaubert said, “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” If the romance genre continues to explore the darker desires and pitfalls of humanity, is that what we romance authors believe love is all about? Is that what the publishing industry believes?

Isn’t it our duty as artists to illuminate the brighter side of love?

Yes, sex sells. It always has and always will. It sells books and clothes and cars. It sells candy and music. The publishing industry needs to take note, however, that you can’t just give the romance genre a facelift (even if it does need one). In today’s world, however, it is more important than ever to show through the romance genre that sexy does not need to include what women don’t want in their lives—whether that is controlling heroes, discrimination, assault or harassment of any sort.

 

 

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Filed under A New Kind of Romance, Becoming Magic, Writing

Happy Birthday, Becoming Magic! Time for a new kind of romance.

pile of covered books

I pray I am not shouting into the whirlwind of too many voices this time. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Happy birthday to my newest baby, Becoming Magic! It’s high time for this book. In a world with so much denigration of women, it’s past time for the genre of books most heavily written by women to honor what women really are.

We are powerful.

We are beautiful.

We are creative.

We are romantic.

We are sexy.

We are strong.

Does anyone want to deny any of the above? As a member of the “lesser” sex, I can say honestly that the only reason I can see that we were ever called that is so men can make us think less of ourselves. We’ve been victims long enough. It’s time to rise up and recognize the men who actually appreciate what women really are.

They are equal partners.

They are not afraid of us.

They are willing to treat women as equals.

They are romantic.

They are sexy.

They are strong.

Please notice that I didn’t say they are dukes or melancholy or macho or sadists. All except the last could, possibly, be part of who they are, but as women, it’s time to defy the melancholy, macho, duke hero who practices S&M. We know what we want, and it doesn’t include rape.

That’s what a new kind of romance is all about. Please try out my new kind of romance, Becoming Magic. You can find the first chapter here. Read it. If you enjoy it, download the whole book at your favorite ebook retailer. The paperback version should be available soon.

Read it.

And then tell me what you think.

Dear God, may this book please not be lost in the shuffle of many. May it not be caught up in a whirlwind of other voices that drown it out. May it please make it to the eyes of the readers who need it. In your name I pray, Amen.

Love,

Michelle

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Four Days to Becoming Magic: What do I hope to accomplish?

close up of heart shape

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Yesterday I uploaded my files to Createspace, KDP and Smashwords. A few tiny bumps in the process gave me plenty of time to reflect.

What do I hope to accomplish with this book?

It reminded me of the best writing advice I’ve ever been given: Make sure you have a clear goal for each and every scene you write. How does that scene or chapter help move your story along? Before I got that advice, I’d taken as gospel the “just write” theology of writing. Well, just writing can get you into literary holes and take you down paths you never intended. You’ll end up backtracking and deleting a good bit of whatever you “just write”. (I know a lot of plotters are out there shaking their heads at my “pantsing” attitude, but it’s the way I write.) If you have a clear idea of what your scene will accomplish, you’ll stay on track much better.

So what does that have to do with what I hope to accomplish with this book? Well, I think of each and every book I put out there as a chapter in my life. So many chapters of you life are not within your control. But some are. And each book I put out is something I control. What is my goal with this one?

I’ve given up on the getting famous thing. Not every writer is Stephen King. I’ve given up on getting rich. Not every writer is Nicholas Sparks. I doubt I’m writing blockbuster movies here because I’m not J.K. Rowling. I’m not a literary pioneer like Jack Kerouac. And yet, I can’t give up on the hope that my writing has a place out there. Somewhere.

This year is a year of change for me. My oldest graduated and starts college in the fall. I’ll go from being in charge of most of his life to having only the influence of a (hopefully) trusted advisor—though in truth I’ve been making that transition for a couple of years now. We’re in the process of transforming our home into something we actually enjoy living in. My office is nearly at the point of being my dream space now.

And my writing changed.

In the past, I’ve often followed the formulaic manly hero/submissive heroine (not always, but my characters usually had some of those characteristics). I’m proud to say I fought that tendency in Becoming Magic. I want to see a change in the romance genre. I feel like we’ve swung too far the other way of things by accepting casual references to marginal practices into our genre. In today’s world, romance heroines need to take charge of their lives and loves. This is, after all, what our daughters may read.

So yeah. That’s what I’m hoping to accomplish with my writing and this particular book. In my own little corner of my genre, I hope I will make a difference. In a way, Becoming Magic marks my emergence from a chrysalis of sorts. Though only time will tell if I’m a butterfly or just a stunted caterpillar.

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Five Days to Becoming Magic: What is “a new kind of romance”?

Another romance writer might well ask me what I mean by “a new kind of romance”?

It’s not a new old idea. I’m not saying we need to go back to the days when women were women and men treated them like delicate flowers. I’m not saying you shouldn’t write about sex in your romances. Sex is an integral part of character development in romance. I’m not even saying tying people up isn’t sexy. If you read Escape Magic (which I call my anti-50-shades bondage romance), for instance, you’ll see there are ways for that to be worked in that are definitely okay.

A new kind of romance is not about going backward. It’s about moving forward. It’s about recognizing that the problems women face today are very much rooted in attitudes we’ve faced all along that are perpetuated by the submissive heroines and macho man heroes from the romances of yesteryear. If we don’t want to be dominated, our reading material should reflect that. Here’s my best definition of what a new kind of romance is, followed by the print cover of my new book with the blurb:

Five days to the release of Becoming Magic! If you want to know why I call it “a new kind of romance”, check out my blog at http://michellegflye.com or read this:
 
What is a new kind of romance?
 
A romance where women are in charge of their own fate and aren’t considered property. A romance where rape is rape, not fantasy. A romance about what real women really want—real men secure enough in their own masculinity to be able to both protect a woman who wants it and back off when she doesn’t.
 
That’s real romance. It’s sexy and fun and no holds barred. It’s loving and tender and passionate. And for me it starts with Becoming Magic.
Becoming Magic Print

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Seven Days to Becoming Magic: I miss the old days…

blur book stack books bookshelves

A book with no one to advocate for it gets shelved quickly in today’s overwhelmed literary market. I know that. And yet. Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

Just a week away from the release of Becoming Magic, my new kind of romance in which I attempt to prove real heroes are not the dark, brooding macho men of old.

Just a week away from the part I hate—promotion. Literally, the worst part for someone like me. I’m a hermit. I live in my office with my little dog and my cats. It’s my happy place.

Cormac McCarthy sold books for forty years without ever doing a television interview. Emily Dickinson wrote her amazing body of poetry while secluded in her family home—literally lowering baskets from windows for packages and speaking to visitors through doors. Of course, the largest part of her work was discovered after her death…

And then there is William Faulkner, who famously shunned public speaking, but should have spoken out more, as evidenced by his Nobel Prize Speech:

The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past.

Yes, writers are reclusive. We prefer to sit at our desks and tap away at our computers. But in today’s world of technology and television and Netflix, it’s up to us—the writers and poets—to seek out new ways to do what Faulkner charged us to do: To remind human beings that there is more to us than our exterior shells show—we have heart and soul and history to prove it. And that means promotion because like the proverbial tree with no listeners, there’s not much point to a book with no readers.

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