Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer C. Rodland


Learning about the Business

Over the weekend, I attended a presentation by author Deb Schneider. She talked about how to write a romance and, more important, how to understand the business.

One of the revelations she had for us was that the billionaire and the virgin trope popular in the category romances baffles many U.S. romance fans because it isn’t intended for us. Those books do well enough in the United States, but their target audience is readers in more conservative cultures around the world. They are extremely popular internationally.

She also discussed the future of publishing. She compared a copy of her newest release, Promise Me, printed by the publisher and one printed at a print-on-demand (POD) kiosk. They were virtually indistinguishable. With the high cost of printing, transporting, warehousing, and returning unsold printed books, POD makes a lot of sense.

And, Schneider shared her thoughts on ebooks and ebook readers. Sales of ebooks grew 176% last year, when most other segments of the book industry saw drops in sales. Yes, they are still a small percentage of the total book market (7%), but with growth like that, how much longer until they represent the majority of sales?

I haven’t yet purchased a POD book, but I am definitely on the ebook bandwagon. I use the Kindle, eReader, and Stanza apps on my iPod Touch, so I’m not wedded to a particular format.

Today, I read a piece on JA Konrath’s blog about a successful Kindle-only author, Karen McQuestion. McQuestion and Konrath both release their books in Kindle at low prices to help potential readers feel good about taking a chance on an unknown author. And they have both seen success with that business model. (Konrath is also a traditionally published author.)

How have you adapted to the changing world of publishing, whether in the romance genre or in other genres?


The Demise of the Dramatis Personae?

Until recently, my genre of choice for pleasure reading was fantasy.

The typical fantasy series has such a wide range of characters and settings that it often includes a dramatis personae, a listing of characters and their relationships. They often also list common places in the fantasy world to help readers keep it all straight. An example is the Sun Sword series by Michelle West. Spanning years and introducing an extremely complex world with castes and allegiances that sometimes changed from book to book, it included a comprehensive glossary of people and places that I used frequently during the six years that I read the series.

Earlier this month, a friend and I were discussing Rachel Vincent’s most recent installment in her Shifters series, Shift. I had finished the book, but my friend was struggling to reacquaint herself with the cast of characters. Vincent did a good job of providing small details to jog the reader’s memory when mentioning a character, but it wasn’t enough for my friend.

I know that Vincent must have a character rundown that helps her keep her characters straight, especially now that she has begun a new series, her YA Soul Screamers series.

Would you find a dramatis personae useful when you are reading the typical urban fantasy or genre-bending romance novel? If you are primarily an ebook reader, would the format affect your ability to use such a tool?


What’s in a Genre? Crossovers in Romantic Fiction

Over the past few years, more and more successful romances have crossed into other genres.

We’re pretty familiar with the paranormal romances–vamps, werewolves, and Greek gods, oh my! But there are also science fiction and fantasy romances, western romances, romantic suspense, and so on.

Before my recent foray into the world of romance, I was a big fan of fantasy novels. Of course, my favorite fantasies were written by women and included strong romantic storylines, but that’s neither here nor there.

I am a fan of the crossovers because they pull together some of my favorite genres and ideas. I love a great romance that takes place in space, in a land filled with faeries and magic, or just here in our world with fantastical creatures I like to daydream about but probably wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.

Now, if only those Winchester boys could just find some nice girls and settle down in season 6 of Supernatural… just kidding!

What do you think about crossover romances? Do you love them, or do you just wish the genres would stay pure?


Finding Inspiration

Have you ever read a great book and asked, “How did the author think of that?”

The funny thing about that question is that there are as many answers as there are scenes written by authors. Every flash of inspiration comes from a different source–a snippet of conversation you overhear in a restaurant, a visceral reaction you have to a photo or an ad you see, or the what-if question you ask when you read a headline in a newspaper.

Sometimes, once you open yourself up to inspiration, you can barely shut it off. The dialogue, scene ideas, and exposition can overwhelm your brain.

That is why I typically watch TV while I fall asleep. It is much easier to shut my brain down when I’m hearing familiar dialogue from a favorite sitcom than when I’m surrounded by nothing but silence and snoring.

Readers, what was the last book you read that made you ask how the author could possibly have come up with that chain of events?

Writers, what led to your most recent stroke of inspiration? And, how do you flip the inspiration switch?


Lending a Hand

It’s been nearly one week since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti.

The past week has seen an amazing outpouring of support from the writing community and others all over the world.

Unfortunately, we’ve also seen scammers using this tragedy to bilk money from people who are trying to do good. Here are a few reputable sources you can donate to to ensure that your good deed actually does good for the survivors in Haiti.

Red Cross
The Red Cross is a huge part of the relief effort, coordinating volunteers and supplies. You can make a donation through the Red Cross website. Or, you can make a quick and easy $10 donation by texting Haiti to 90999. A $10 donation will be added to your phone bill.

The United Nations child-focused charitable fund is working on the ground to save children who have been hurt in the earthquake. Donate through their website.

Hope for Haiti Telethon
George Clooney has organized a telethon to air Friday, January 22, on all of the U.S. broadcast and some cable channels. The telethon will raise funds for the Red Cross, UNICEF, Oxfam America, Partners in Health and Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation. I’m not sure if it will be broadcast internationally–check your local listings to find out.

You can check other charities through your state attorney general’s office (if you’re in the U.S.) or through your local government (if you are in another country). Thank you for all that you have done so far to help the citizens of Haiti.


Want to Join the Team?

Now that we’ve gotten this blog off the ground, we’re ready to add some regular bloggers to our team.

If you are a romance or urban fantasy writer who is willing to write one or two posts per month and to help find guest posts and interviews, consider joining us.

If you would like to volunteer or just find out a little bit more, email us at Tell us about your publication history, your sub-genre, and your interests.

We look forward to meeting you.


Our Twitter Mosaic

Get your twitter mosaic here.

Are you on there? If not, follow The Romantic Journey on Twitter.


Upcoming Guest Interviews

We’ve got quite a few visitors coming by in the next few weeks.

Next Friday, we will be hosting Kiki Howell and finding out a little more about her recent release A Modern Day Witch Hunt. Kiki is also holding a fun giveaway, so check back on 27 November.

On 4 December, Gail Roarke is stopping by to tell us about her book, Bound by Convention.

Finally, mark your calendar for 11 December, when Roxanne Rhoads visits to tell us about her upcoming release Insatiable. Insatiable is due out 7 December, and Roxanne will be giving away a free PDF copy as part of her interview.


Classic Love Stories

When did you first realize the power of love?

As a young girl, I spent a lot of time listening to the Muppets Frog Prince on vinyl. Every time, I cheered when the Princess Melora kissed Robin the Frog, because I knew he would turn back into a prince and they would spend their lives together, happily ever after.

After I learned to read, I was a big fan of all of the Grimms Fairy Tales and the Arabian Nights because even though the characters went through horrible things, they always got their happy ending.

When I got a little older, Gone With the Wind became my favorite love story. Mom and I watched it every year when it came on network television. (Yes, these were the days before HBO and VCRs.) Even though Margaret Mitchell left the ending up in the air, I think we all know that Scarlett and Rhett got their happy ending, too.

What is it about falling in love and ending up together that is so timeless?

We know that many relationships don’t end with us walking happily into the sunset, flushed with the knowledge that we have found a life partner who will never hurt us, never forsake us, and never forget to put the toilet seat down or put his dirty socks in the hamper. We know that the ending of our favorite stories is often just the beginning of a whole new set of trials and tribulations that doesn’t always have a happy ending. But we eat up our happy endings all the same.

Is it a matter of escapism? Are romances an outlet for our unflappable idealism? Do we sometimes need a reminder of what unconditional, happy love feels like?

For me, it’s all of the above. I love to escape to a world where the end result of a romantic encounter is happiness. I love to be reminded of my deep-seated idealism and belief that not only can we all be happy but that we deserve it.  What about you? What do you feel when you read a good love story?


Poll Results

Thanks for all of your great feedback on the types of posts you want.

The overwhelming responses were for book recommendations, so we’ll be looking at ways to give you some ideas of new books to read. We’re also going to begin posting our author interviews soon, and we will be getting their favorite books as part of the interview, so you can see what your favorite writers like to read.

Here are the poll results:

  • Book recommendations: 38%
  • Contests/giveaways: 25%
  • Guests interviews with other bloggers/authors: 13%
  • Background on characters and settings in our books: 13%
  • Information about the writing process: 13%
  • Beefcake shots: 0% (so we’ll hold off on posting all of the dude photos until you tell us you can’t live without them!)

Again, thank you for the great feedback and ideas. Keep telling us what you like!



August 2020

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