Musings — Valentine’s Day

Regan Walker is putting up a series of posts on her blog in honor of Valentine’s Day this week. (In contrast, I’m going to be off to the big dog show cluster in Denver that starts on the 14th. I have nothing to show, of course. Schara is retired, and Story at 3½ months is not only too young, but too vulnerable, to be anywhere near an event like that. However, I’ll go and watch the Rottweiler classes and then cruise the vendor booths. Big shows like that have the most wonderful booths featuring things you can’t get anywhere else except online, and prices are often more reasonable than any other place. Sorry. End of digression.)

Regan’s post today features several romantic quotes, and the first is this one from Eyes:

“Anne believed she would in the end hear the words she, like all women, longed to hear, but if he never spoke of it, she would be content with this. He loved her, and she knew it, and he was capable of such tenderness it left her trembling, overwhelmed by her own love for him.”

Reading that again made me remember my intentions when I wrote it. Those of you who have read this blog for any time know that I wrote Eyes in response to a challenge from my sister. You could call that the exterior challenge.

I also set out to meet what you might call an interior challenge. I wanted to write a book that fit within the parameters that are accepted as a romance while avoiding all the tropes and cliches that I personally dislike. The above quote and everything it represents was my reaction to the many (if someone ever did a statistical analysis, I bet they might find most could be used there instead of many) romances where: The heroine either refuses to marry the hero or runs away or has some other [sarcasm on]intelligent[/sarcasm off] response to the fact she loves him and he hasn’t said, “I love you” (and blubbered all over her in a way that probably doesn’t suit his character up to that point in the book).

Regan’s next quote is: “Love is a journey from the first blush of physical attraction to a marriage of souls.”  That’s from Dream Lover by Virginia Henley, a book I haven’t read, but I like the sentiment. Another of my pet romance peeves is treating physical attraction and lust as if that’s all there is to love. My only personal experience with overwhelming physical attraction was amazingly brief. The guy’s looks hit me like a freight train to the point I could hardly stand to look at him because my reaction embarrassed me so much. Then I was around him enough to realize he was a jerk, and the attraction disappeared as if it had never been. I could look at him afterward and see a handsome man of my type, but the chemistry was just gone.

Of course I realize it must not work that way for many women. The attraction evidently doesn’t disappear, and they stick with the guy—and end up in miserable relationships, divorced, in domestic violence shelters, whatever. But for me? My heroines don’t love jerks, no matter what they look like.

Hmm. Then I have this one story idea…. But if that happens, she’s going to wise up fast and move on to better.

Just off the top of my head I made a list that includes 9 other common romances cliches I’ve stayed determined to avoid. Maybe I’ll do my own series of posts and list them a few at a time.



5 Responses to Musings — Valentine’s Day

  1. Rosheen says:

    Hi Ellen hope you have a great 14th of feb dog show. One of the reasons I like your stories is because the charaters stay consistent and in keeping with themselves even when they learn and grow. Yes the list of romance cliches would be a fun blog and we are glad you avoid them. Cheers Rosheen

  2. McD says:

    Hope you enjoy your Denver dog show, Ellen!
    And thanks so much for giving us novels that avoid the usual cliches and tropes. Which is why I love your titles so much. They avoid so many of my own personal list of most hated tropes in romance.

  3. Hey, Rosheen, McD – Well, the big show is over, all 5 days of it, and my credit card didn’t melt, although it took a while to cool off. It used to be three days, the weekend and Presidents Day, but now it starts Thursday and runs through Monday. Getting up early enough to get to events like that is always a strain for my late-to-rise, late-to-bed self. Story is busy with a bunch of new toys that haven’t been chewed and torn to shapeless masses yet. Friends who call remark on the constant squeak, squeak in the background, but what the heck, she won’t be a puppy for long, and she’s happy.

    I’m sure some of the things I hate most are favorites for others. There are always threads in the Amazon Romance forum (no, I haven’t cured myself of reading over there, although I wouldn’t post on a dare) about what _______ do you hate most. Reading some of them is hilarious, yet the fact is someone hates pretty much everything you can mention. I remember just before I put Sing My Name out, I was convinced it hit all the most hated tropes. Can’t remember them all, but obviously, Matt and Sarah were very young in the first third of the book, there was a long separation, secret baby, child as actual character. Those are only what I remember off hand now.


  4. Marilyn Keith says:

    Ellen, I am a refugee from the Amazon Romance Forum and know only too well of the grumbling and complaining that goes on over there as well as some of the vicious personal attacks. I don’t go there any more. I just want you to know how much I enjoy your stories and have read them all except the last (Beautiful Bad Man) which I just recently downloaded. Keep up the good work. Your writing get better and better.

    PS. I truly loved “Dancing On Coals”.

  5. Hi Marilyn and welcome. You’re a stronger woman than I. I don’t read much of those forums, but I skim them and take a look at threads that look interesting.

    Thanks for the compliments. I hope to keep getting better. Stagnating doesn’t appeal. I really wanted to tackle a halfway realistic NA romance and am pretty proud of Dancing. My fear when I put it out was that most romance readers would be put off by Gaetan’s character, and some are, but overall the reception has been great.


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