You above all others

I’ve been thinking about Tarzan lately. You know, the guy who can get you through the jungle alive? I saw the new movie, and Alexander Skarsgaard is still Eric-hot, but that’s not why it keeps running though my head.

It’s that whole keep-you-alive-slay-all-enemies-you-above-all-others mentality. The original Tarzan had that, and I’m glad to see that it stayed alive through this newest incarnation. Jane is everything. Absolutely everything.

He goes back to the jungle because she wants to. He chases her to the exclusion of everything else. He jumps off cliffs, dives into dangerous waters, and just physically propels himself in the direction he thinks she is in. Maybe those other things matter–you know, fighting gorillas, rescuing slaves, slaying evildoers, all that–but they all disappear into the background when Jane is in the picture.

That’s the kind of guy you want, right? The one who will get you through the jungle, fight to save you, literally run right off the edge of a cliff and jump off because he heard you scream from somewhere beyond the edge? That’s the kind of guy I write about. Sort of.

And that’s what I’ve really been thinking about. As I finish the second novel, I’m starting to see my menfolk a little differently. I thought Rory was Tarzan all along–saving Hannah from this and that (and more often from herself)–but it’s not her Hannah or nothing else in the world. Not really. What I’m realizing is that Klauden is turning out to be my Tarzan–and I never realized it until now. No spoilers here, but yeah. Klauden runs right off several cliffs in pursuit of his goal–and I never quite noticed it. I guess I’m more like Hannah than I realized!

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And Romance isn’t dead…

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Since I spent lat time explaining my definition of “cheesy,” I thought Id’ spend some time today with the rest of my descriptor for my book–romance. Yes, my book is a romance–but in more ways than the traditional character A sees character B across a dimly lit room, Bam!, the sun comes out, the world makes sense, the birds are singing all day long–even while they fight off the villain together–and they ride off into the sunset together. Yeah, I’m a sucker for that kind of romance.

But I spend my days talking about the rest of romance, the part that writers seem to have left in the bowels of history. In literature, Romance means a story written in a Roman language–and for most of history, that means Latin (eventually, Latin will spawn the romance languages–French, Spanish, and Italian). So, a romance is a story that those crazy Roman invaders would bring with them, sharing the tales of adventure in their native tongue. Those stories are awesome, and so of course people started to retell them to all of their friends–some of whom did not understand Latin. So those tales were translated into Old English and French–and then the French started to compose their own stories–and suddenly there is a group of stories classified as romance that may or may not involve happy couples kissing and/or swearing eternal devotion to one another.

These stories, often called medieval romances, usually involve an adventure of some kind, a quest or journey where the protagonist has to accomplish a goal (sometimes the rescue of the classic damsel in distress but not always). Often there is an supernatural element, usually they take place in locations with faraway exotic names (for the listeners, that is), and sometimes the protagonist gets married at the end. People still call them romances, though, since they are derived from those old Roman stories that were translated from Latin.

The French take this genre by storm, embellishing that old story about a warrior named Arthur with an entire world–Camelot, Excalibur, the English Queen who is seduced by a French knight who uses his lance, a lot. Did I mention that this was right after the Norman Invasion when the French conquered England, claimed their land, and spent the next few hundred years changing their language? (Take that, England! Your English King loses his Queen to a sexy French chevalier!). That aside, these are the romances that endure, and they generally break up into four different categories or what we English majors call Matters:

The Matter of Rome includes any stories that deal with Roman or Greek elements (Trojan war, Greek gods, etc.).

The Matter of England includes any stories that deal with King Arthur (Camelot, Excalibur, Holy Grail, Fisher King, etc.).

The Matter of Britain includes any stories that deal with English knights who aren’t connected to King Arthur (King Horn, Havelock the Dane, Gamelyn, Robin Hood, etc.).

The Matter of France includes any stories that deal with Charlemagne and his paladins (Roland, Oliver, Bayard, etc.).

Some of these stories involve a sunset backed passionate kiss; some do not. But all are romances.

Remember reading The Scarlet Letter in high school? It’s subtitled: a romance. Why would Hawthorne do that? According to his definition, his story includes an adventure (mostly psychological) set in an exotic location (Puritan New England, a place as foreign to Hawthorne’s 1800s than it is to modern readers) with a hint of the supernatural (mysterious letters in the sky, Pearl as demon-child, etc.). Yes, the story is about two people who got it on, but it is as far from a contemporary romance as you can get (spoiler alert: they don’t live happily ever after).

So, history lesson on romance over. The next time someone dismisses a romance novel as a waste of time, remind them that romances have a long and hefty literary history that involves many twists and turns.

I write cheesy romance novels: adventure, excitement, supernatural, and yes, some kissing.

Of busy weekends and plague-filled houses

This weekend has been a whirlwind!

First, my family came down with a wicked cough this week. All of us stumbled about the house like Doc Holiday, pausing to place hands on knees as we were wracked with spasms. The Annual Discount Halloween Costume Party was supposed to be Friday (always held the week after Halloween–and everyone is encouraged to find the most ridiculous discounted costume and show up for clearance treats and discounted decorations–one year, Dalia Lance and friend showed up as Snooki and the Situation, both purchased for $5!). We had to cancel because we didn’t want to spread the Mutaba virus to friends. We had so many pumpkins (my husband raided a pumpkin patch right before the guy was about to toss them all!). Ah well. Next year will be awesome!

On top of the plague, I went to a Book Fair on Saturday–and sold some copies of my books to locals! I even had an old friend from high school show up to grab a signed copy. I did my best to avoid coughing on anyone.

Today, buoyed by thyme tea (thanks @Dragonbeck!) and good times, we had our annual ISG party to celebrate the release of the new anthology Bent Horizons. We also picked the words for next year’s anthology. There was a lot of food and signing–and it was awesome.

Good times this weekend. Now I’m ready to settle down with a mug of tea and read one of the books precariously stacked on my nightstand. One of these days, I will actually finish one book at a time!

Vampires and D&D, plus romance!

Do you like your vampires mixed with the excitement of D&D? They may not sparkle, but they certainly shine in the first installment of the Klauden’s Ring Saga.

Follow Hannah van Kreeosk as she travels the lands south of the Vanya Mountains, meeting sexy new companions and fleeing the ghosts of her past.

Klauden's Ring (TBA) (Volume 1)
Klauden’s Ring (TBA) (Volume 1)
by JM Paquette
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For more about Hannah’s history in the castle, check out “Blood Journal” in On the Verge.

On the Verge (Short Stories) (presented by the Ink Slingers Guild) (Volume 3)
On the Verge (Short Stories) (presented by the Ink Slingers Guild) (Volume 3)
by Nicole DragonBeck et al.
  Learn more  

For more about what happens to Hannah and Rory, read “The River” in Bent Horizons.

Bent Horizons (Short Stories) (presented by the Ink Slingers Guild) (Volume 4)
Bent Horizons (Short Stories) (presented by the Ink Slingers Guild) (Volume 4)
by Lisa Barry et al.
  Learn more  

Klauden’s Ring Coming Soon!

When Hannah van Kreeosk fled from her father’s castle and all of the expectations of being First Daughter, she thought that finding a willing meal would be the worst of her problems. A natural born vampire, she never expected an attack that would leave her wounded and in need of protection. Traveling with the handsome elven warrior Rory Tallerin proves a tempting way to spend her time.
Unfortunately, Hannah’s father isn’t quite done with her, and not everyone in Rory’s little band of survivors is what they appear to be. Between running from goblins and her father’s dedicated magician, the last thing Hannah needs is another knife in her back. The conflict in her heart, however, may prove to be the more troubling wound.
When forced to choose between the overwhelming demands of her body and the foolishly sentimental desire in her heart, Hannah must discover her true nature.