It’s All Love or Something Like It

gwtwI watch Gone With the Wind at least once a year. And even though it doesn’t end happily (Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!) it still thrills me.

My husband laughs at my penchant for romance and drama. He used to sit through them all with me. I think we’re past that stage. I skip the action hero adventures and he skips the chick flicks. That’s when you know you’re at a point in your relationship when things have gotten pretty comfortable, right?

My son will come in (he’s eleven and just figuring out this boy/girl stuff) and if he finds me watching, he always asks, “What’s it about?”

If my husband is in the room, he’ll say, “Pretty much, nothing.”

“What do you mean?” my son will inquire.

“Watch for yourself if you want to waste two hours. Trust me. Nothing happens. It’s a whole lot of talking and kissing and no action at all.”

This amuses me.

How can men really think that nothing happens in romance movies? Everything happens in romance movies! The meeting, the getting to know you phase, the sexual tension, the first kiss, (a whole lot of firsts, if the movie is new enough, good enough, and daring enough!) and all the inevitable drama that ensues. That’s not nothing–it’s everything! This is the stuff that life is made up of! Seriously, guys, when was the last time you walked away from an explosion? Or pulled out a gun and started shooting in the middle of a Wal-Mart? (Psychos and Black Friday aside…) What are the odds those things are really going to happen?

But we all fall in love. Our whole lives are driven by love, by wanting to feel love, and be loved. This is stuff that actually happens to us! Now, granted, there are few men in the world (my husband just happens to be one of them!) who can truly live up to the fiction characters on screen or the “book boyfriends” we romance-lovers read about. But love endures. Love IS. It’s what we’re made of, what we are, what we’re meant for.

So when he tries to tell me there’s “nothing” going on in my romance movies… I just stick out my tongue and point him to my tagline.

It’s all love… or something like it!


New Adult Marked for Deletion on Wikipedia

The New Adult category has been marked for deletion on Wikipedia.

But don’t worry, lots of people have come in to protest and comment and tell Wikipedia what’s what! You can go leave your comments if you want to make your voice heard. I’m pretty sure NA is here to stay, in spite of Wikipedia’s control issues. 

Wikipedia clearly thinks NA is a fad, a made-up marketing ploy designed to suck us all in so we can be St. Martin’s buying zombies.

To Wikipedia, NA seems like the hula hoops of the 50s.


(Are these two girls or Siamese twins?)

Or the mini skirts of the 60s.  


(Psst! Fashion designers everywere – my ass is begging you not to bring these back!)

Or the pet rock of the 70’s.

pet rock

(Care and training of… heyyyy, wait a minute…)

Or the Gremlins of the 80’s.


(First page of Google, folks!)

 (Not to be confused with this Gremlin…) 

Gremlin car

(Will never be cool. Ever.)

Or Tamagatchi’s of the 90’s.


(To be thereafter thrown in every kid’s face when asking for a puppy, as in: “You couldn’t even keep your Tamagotchi alive!”)

Or the Furbys of 2000. 

Furby 1990

(Not cute, just creepy.)

And again in 2012…


(Beyond creepy, now their eyes glow, they talk to each other and I’m pretty sure they’re planning world domination…)

But Wikipedia was wrong! NA isn’t a fad!

 So people were all like:









amazon new adult

And Wikipedia was like:


And that, my friends, was that. 


New Adult Category on Amazon – But What About the Indies?

amazon new adultSo there’s good news and there’s bad news.

Amazon has a new category: “New Adult & College Romance.”YAY for readers! Now we can find more of the books we’re looking for! That’s always a good thing, when things are classified well and readers can find them. 

The bad news?

Apparently, it’s only for the traditionally published, or for the “uber-super-mega selling” indie authors who clearly have some pull or clout with Amazon.

Folks, something smells bad here…

Maybe I’m just being crazy or paranoid. But so far, on Amazon’s KDP platform, there is no way to choose this new category for self-pubbed authors. I looked, I checked, I searched, I hunted. I scoured the category listing in my KDP dashboard. There is no access for indies to this awesome new category. Which makes this “new adult & college romance category” a little bit of a coup for traditional publishing, does it not?

Let’s just hope I’m jumping the gun here, and Amazon just hasn’t programmed it into their KDP platform… yet. Although to give to traditional publishing with one hand, while withholding from self-publishing with the other, seems quite unfair and a little hypocritical, especially given the fact that most of the names on the New Adult & College Romance bestseller list were once actually self-published…

So what’s the deal Amazon? Are you just slow in implementing your new category (that’s bad enough, really) or are you going to withhold this indefinitely from indie authors?

Either way, it seems like a little bit of #amazonfail to me. 



Review: REAL by Katy Evans

realI think the gravity in “NA” books must be stronger than in other books. Because these poor guys’ pants just keep hanging soooo low on their hips! 🙂

<—- just look at that man’s pants! But I have to admit, his star tattoo is quite fetching. I’ve heard some people dis this cover, but I kind of like it. Katy Evans doesn’t ever say (I don’t think? maybe I missed it in all the description of his low-hanging jeans… or pajama bottoms… or shorts… you get the idea…) but I’m pretty sure Remy is no heavyweight. He’s a lean middle-weight and that photo just about does it. Personally, I think it’s sexy, in a very compelling sort of way. It’s interesting, unusual. Me likey!

Okay, onto the meat of the book (so to speak…) I want to say up front that this is a good read. I really enjoyed it. Fast, well plotted, and fun. Katy Evans has created, in Remington Tate (Remy) a tortured hero whose presence fills an entire room. It overshadows everything (even the girl he chooses – Brooke) and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Reading this book is like the best foreplay ever. The sexual tension was incredible. The kissing, and the kissing, and more kissing! It reminded me of that quote from Bull Durham – long slow wet kisses that last three days. In this case – literally!

Anyone remember that quote? Kevin Costner manages to capture so much sexual tension in that quote it’s like a long, fly ball out of the park!

Katy Evans can write, and she’s best at tension, whether it’s sexual tension, internal angst or the adrenaline rush of stepping into a boxing ring. I give her kudos and high praise for her ability to maintain that tension throughout the book.

My only issue was, I was rather dismayed by the portrayal of mental illness/bipolar in this book. And I was a little surprised by all Brooke’s, “Would he remember telling me he loved me when he was speedy (manic) and/or black (depressed)?” etc.

If your new BF was bipolar – wouldn’t you, ya know, maybe Google it and find out more about it?

I’ve lived with a bipolar person, and I’ve worked with plenty in my day job. I can say with some confidence that most bipolar people aren’t like Remy. I guess it bothered me a little, to see bipolar disorder kind of glorified that way. The highs and lows of bipolar aren’t so sexy in real life, that’s for sure! 🙂

Other than that, though, I really, truly enjoyed it. Lots of sexual tension, and that last fight scene, wow, that was a killer to read. I could imagine him just standing there, just *taking* it, and I guessed why before we found out why… but I won’t spoil it for you!

I did feel the secondary characters were slightly underdeveloped, but we were so busy watching Brooke and Remy kissing, I mean, who really cares? I could see those hints and bits of foreshadowing laying the groundwork for future books, and I have a sense of where Katy is going to take things in the future in books 2, 3… 4… and 5?

I have to admit, I’ll read them all. I’ll follow Remington Tate to the ends of the earth, “sexy bipolar” or not. He beats Christian Grey hands down. If those two were in the ring together? Oh please! Knock-out. First round. We have a winner – it’s RIPTIDE!



Cover Reveal: Buried Secrets by Emme Rollins

Buried Secrets

by Emme Rollins

Coming June 2013

Thank you to the full-of-awesomesauce Mr. Willsin Rowe for lending his considerable talents!

Buried Secrets by Emme Rollins COMING SOON

Buried Secrets by Emme Rollins COMING SOON


Should some secrets remain buried?

Dusty has always been a hothead, far more impulsive than her twin, Nick, the calm, cool and collected one of the pair. But Nick is dead, found murdered in their local cemetery, and Dusty simply can’t rest until she finds out who–or what–has killed her brother.

Sure the local authorities aren’t being straight with her–or anyone else–about what’s been going on in their little upper Michigan town, Dusty delays going off to college for a semester, defying her father and stepmother and taking a job in the local bar to start doing some digging.

Her focus soon fixes on Shane, her brother’s best friend and the town bad boy. The tension and rivalry between Dusty and Shane has always been palpable and sparks fly as the two collide. Dusty finds herself sinking in deeper with Shane and the mystery of what happened to her brother–and a lengthening list of victims–grows even stranger.

When everything comes to a head, Dusty focuses on one thing: What happened the night her brother was killed in the cemetery? She’s sure Shane is keeping a secret and she’s determined to find out what it is, one way or another.


Young Adult Fiction (YA) is to New Adult Fiction (NA) as St. Elmo’s Fire (80s movie) is to….

What is “New Adult?” Is it some made-up book category? A publisher-invented title to sell more books?

Perhaps. The history of the genre, beginning with a contest by St. Martins, would suggest it might be so.

But there are subtle differences between New Adult and Young Adult that are actually quite important. How?

Well, I know I’m dating myself here… (well not *dating* myself, as in having a relationship, but dating as in tree rings and half-lives and carbon–well you get the idea) BUT – the other night I was thinking about “New Adult” as a category and I thought of the perfect analogy to put it into context.

You know those “this is to that” SAT questions that drove you nuts in high school? (Ugh – I know I know, I’m dating myself again, because the SAT no longer asks students analogy questions, apparently because, “so many Americans find it difficult to recognize false analogies.” And that’s just sad.)

I have more confidence in you than the writers of the SAT questions, though… I think you can do it!

For those of you who don’t remember the “this is to that” analogies, this is an easy one: “Cat is to kitten as dog is to ______?”

















Boxer Puppy

Did you say Puppy?

Very good! Okay let’s do another one…

Alice is to Wonderland as Harry Potter is to _______?”





















Did you say Hogwarts?

YAY! You can do this!

Okay, so here is my analogy for New Adult fiction!

Young Adult (YA) fiction is to New Adult (NA) fiction as Breakfast Club (80’s movie) is to __________?.
















Did you say St. Elmo’s Fire?

Good job! Do you see what I mean?


Here’s a look at Breakfast Club…. can you spot the differences? 


Okay, fine, for those of you who are still scratching your heads in puzzlement, let me extrapolate for you in this chart:



Young Adult (YA) is to New Adult (NA) as Breakfast Club is to St. Elmo’s Fire

Breakfast Club

(Young Adult)

St. Elmo’s Fire

(New Adult)

Five teenagers show up for Saturday detention in the school library Dependent and restricted by parents and society – 95% of adolescents life at home with at least one parent, 98% aren’t married and under 10% have become parents. More than 95% attend school. Seven friends graduating from college are moving into the “real world” for the first time Freedom and autonomy (often for the first time) This is a time of exploration and looking for a new identity after the strict roles high school imposed
Each character represents a typical high school clique (Geek, Princess/rich, Jock, Weirdo, Criminal/rebel) and all of them identify strongly with that clique.


Each character is defined by either by their parents’ socioeconomic status (i.e. Claire is a “Richie” and John is clearly poor) or by their parent’s wishes for them (i.e. Andrew is a jock/wrestler like his father before him, and is pressured to be like his father)


The world of “working” by the characters themselves is never even discussed.


Defined by stereotypes, peer pressure, the desire to fit in.


Identity formation is happening now so teens identify strongly with their cliques.


Teens are eager and willing to attach and fuse their identities to others (i.e cliques)


Work is only done in adolescence for recreational purposes (i.e. to buy “cool stuff”)

Characters move into the world of work and life.

  • Kirby: waiter
  • Billy: Married father who can’t keep a job, nostalgic for college life
  • Kevin: depressed obituary writer looking for more
  • Jules: works in a bank
  • Alec: Yuppie who wants to enter politics
  • Leslie: Yuppie who wants her own career before kids/family
  • Wendy: From a rich family, altruistic tendencies
No longer defined by the narrow stereotypes of high school – moving into the world of work, or college, or military service.


Negotiating responsibility and autonomy for the first time.


Work becomes a necessity, a means to an end certainly, but also begins to shape and form identity. I’m a “doctor,” or I’m a “lawyer,” or I’m a “waiter.”


Work also becomes a way to identify social standing and begins a new way of defining cliques.


Characters are getting first jobs, going to college, getting married, having kids, finding their way toward financial independence and living away from their families for the first time.

All of the characters talk about their “home life” and what that means to them.

  • Alison (weirdo) says its unsatisfying.
  • Andrew (jock) says his father doesn’t want him to “blow his ride”—his scholarship.
  • John (criminal) depicts his home life as poor and violent.
  • Brian (geek) is clearly under pressure from his parents to get good grades.
  • Claire (princess/rich) talks about the “drama” of her family and how they threaten divorce.

It’s clear that they’re all subject to the home life their parents have raised them in.

Characters decisions are still limited by their parents, and their motivations are still driven by their parents’ wishes. These come in conflict with their own desires and the pressure of their peers to conform their identity within their various cliques. Their decisions have some real world consequences, but most are imposed still by parents and school (i.e. detention for doing “something bad.”) Real world consequences have yet to befall these characters, for the most part. Characters in the movie make choices that have very real-world consequences.


  • Billy gets charged for drunk driving and loses yet another job that Alex lined up for him
  • Alec talks about changing his political affiliation (abandoning his ideals) because the Republicans pay more
  • Jules is stuck looking after her ill stepmother – she calls her “the step-monster”
  • Jules’ drug problem leads to her job loss and her furniture being repossessed


Characters are in that “in between” place, moving out of their home-life with their parents and beginning to make decisions in the “real world.” Characters are beginning to learn that their decisions have “real world” consequences. The danger here is that characters are making choices regarding marriage, family, work and lifestyle before they have the maturity to choose wisely. Mistakes are made, hard lessons learned.


Characters are dealing with bigger issues than when they were adolescents. Sometimes they are the same issues (drug abuse, sexuality, depression, alcohol abuse family struggles etc.) but the consequences are no longer cushioned by a parent.



 Love, Sex and Relationships

Hughes uses love and relationships to bring the adolescent cliques together.


John and Claire pair up.

Andrew and Alison pair up.

The only odd one out is the “geek.”


Doing this shows that teens can transcend their cliquish identities, and foreshadows what will happen in adulthood, as cliques and their importance dissolves in early adulthood.


Virginity is an important factor to the Breakfast Club teens – who has or hasn’t done “it.”


Immature sexual jokes and innuendo are seen as funny.

 Love, Sex and Relationships


During adolescence, dating often goes on during parties or dances. These are “trial” relationships, and partners change often.


Virginity is a focus for teens. Doing it—or not doing it—becomes a central topic of conversation and focus.


Partners are often limited by cliques (this is transcended in Breakfast Club) or by parents’ ideas and wishes (can you imagine Claire’s parents reactions to bringing John Bender home for dinner?)

Love, Sex and Relationships

Love, sex and relationships become very complicated!

  • Alec asks Leslie to marry him, she says no because she wants to have her own career
  • Alec is sleeping around on Leslie
  • Kevin is accused of being gay but he’s just really in love w Leslie
  • Kirby is obsessed with a woman, verging on stalking
  • Wendy is in love with Billy, who’s married, and she’s still a virgin
  • Wendy is slightly chubby and feels unattractive. Her family is rich, and Billy leverages their friendship to ask for money.
  • Billy takes Wendy’s virginity, but doesn’t leave his wife.



Love, Sex and Relationships


Sex is more free—virginity is (usually) no longer a focus for these characters. Most are sexually experienced, to some degree, and are looking for more than “just sex” in a relationship.


Parents still weigh in on partners at this age (in St. Elmo’s Fire, Wendy’s parents try to dissuade her from her crush on Billy) but characters have far more freedom in their choices.


Characters sometimes fall into obsessive relationships (ala Kirby) and sometimes skip from partner to partner (ala Alec).


Characters are entering relationships for the first time that may end up in lifelong commitment.


Commitment becomes a central point of focus. Characters consider marriage and marriage partners. Do I want to be married? Do I want children? What do I want my future to contain?


All the paths are still open to these characters, and much experimentation is taking place.




See! There are important differences between Young Adult fiction and New Adult fiction – they even thought so way back in the 1980’s! 😀



Coming Soon: Dear Rockstar by Emme Rollins

Coming July 2013


by Emme Rollins


Dear Rockstar by Emme Rollins COMING SOON JULY 2013

Fifty Shades of Suck

lolcatreadzI keep hearing about how bad Fifty Shades of Grey is, how horrible its syntax and grammar, how the atrocious mistakes in point of view, repetitive words and kindergarten-level writing detract significantly from the enjoyment of the story. I keep hearing it, but as of this writing, they’re still sitting pretty over at Amazon. They’re still front and center at our local Barnes and Noble. They’re still selling, in spite of the flaws, in spite of the (mostly true, it seems) criticisms. 

So why should this series of books be all the rage, while there are other books malingering on the shelves that are so grammatically perfect editors everywhere have little orgasms when they read their clever turns of phrase? 

Because the unwashed masses that the elitists in “big publishing” once believed they had to protect from bad grammar, those poor slobs that publishers believed they had to choose for, are now choosing for themselves. They are voting with their dollars. The great big experiment that capitalism is supposed to be is being played out on Amazon, as books that would never have seen anything except the inside of an agent’s trash bin are now flooding the Kindle market, and readers are choosing which books they are actually interested in reading. 

It’s the biggest market research study in the history of publishing happening right there on the marketplace. 

And it turns out that big publishing was wrong. Readers don’t want to read what publishers thought they wanted to read. In fact, publishers were pretty far off the mark, if the bestseller lists are any indication. Big publishing has been surprised to see phenoms like EL James and Amanda Hocking and Tammara Webber flying up the charts. Publishers are aghast at the “grievous errors” in some of these infamously self-or-alternatively published books.

It turns out that readers want entertainment. They want a good story, plain and simple. And they’re even willing to put up with horrible syntax and grammar to get it. In fact, turns out those things are just a minor annoyance for readers. In the end, readers want a good story. Not the story publishers think they should read, not the ones agents believe they can sell. They don’t want Snooki’s autobiography, simply because she’s famous for being on television. They want a good story.

Reboots or rewrites or the same old formula? It doesn’t matter. If it’s a good story, readers will find it and read it. They will tell their friends about it. “Oh my god, I just read the best book, you have to read it!” It isn’t luck that creates a bestseller. Contrary to publishing and all the money they spend on their biggest names, marketing doesn’t sell books. Readers do. That’s why a backlist is the best thing a writer can have under his or her belt. Because if readers like you, they will read you, again and again and again. If they like your story, they’re going to want more. 

The floodgates are open, authors. Everyone’s all-in, and if you thought the competition was fierce when big publishing held the reins, you’re in for a wake-up call when you send your little boat out afloat into the ocean that is Amazon. There are a LOT of boats out there. The good news is, if your boat floats–if your story is a good one–readers will find you. They will tell their friends. And you will sell books. 

You couldn’t do that before. Big publishing controlled the ocean. They had it buttoned up tighter than the Hoover Dam. 

Now, as an author, you can sail freely. Of course, you’re captain of your own ship now. In the world of self-publishing, there are no luxury cruises on Big Publishing’s Princess line. (But think of it this way–what were the odds you were going to get into one of the VIP suites anyway? You probably would have been relegated downstairs in steerage, like on the Titanic… and if you take this metaphor to its logical conclusion, yes, the boat that was too big to sink? It sank. Big publishing has hit an iceberg and they’re too arrogant to acknowledge it… but that boat is taking in water and is hitting its critical tipping point… )

So to all those people who are complaining about Fifty Shades and books like it, where reader enjoyment won out over the Grammar Nazis, you can relax. The world didn’t end because of a misplaced comma or the annoying repetition of a phrase or word. And clearly if so many people are reading it, it must be doing something right! You might have thought Fifty Shades sucked, but you have to admit that, first and foremost, it was entertaining. It’s human nature to slow down to see a train wreck. Perhaps many of Fifty Shades readers were simply curious about the hype, or wondered if it was “as bad as people said.” Still, the blog posts and reviews I’ve seen about just how awful it was as a book, clearly thought that it was entertaining–even if it wasn’t exactly in the way the author intended. 

Now, I’m not condoning sending your little boat out there with holes in it. You should polish your manuscript, have a good cover, do your best to make your book water tight before you send it sailing. Doing so certainly does nothing but help you in your journey as an author. However, as books like Fifty Shades have proven, you never know what’s going to appeal to readers until you put it out there and let them decide. And even the dingiest, most beat-up little boat out there in the ocean can still sail, as long as it has entertainment value, however that appears to and for readers. 

Big publishing has been shocked in the past few years by what readers are buying, reading, and telling their friends about. Books that were once denied to the market are being published–and they’re being read. So much for the judgment calls, so much for the gatekeepers. They have no power anymore. What sells, sells. It’s that simple. 

So while Big publishing might have once snickered and tossed EL James’ books aside as Fifty Shades of Suck, they’re now scrambling to catch up, looking for more books like it, and seeing how they can cash in on what readers really want. 

Me, I’m cheering for all the little boats out there on the Amazon ocean. I doubt, considering their history, that big publishing is going to wake up and smell the iceberg. But the reality is that the market is speaking loud and clear, for anyone who wants to listen. 


What is New Adult Fiction?

You know how we needed the term “tween” for those kids ages nine to fourteen or so, girls that are “too old for toys, but too young for boys?” Because you don’t just skip from childhood to being a teen the moment you turn thirteen right? So it is with adulthood—you also don’t magically morph into an adult when you turn eighteen.

“New Adult” is about those ages between eighteen and twenty-six, focusing on college-aged kids who are just trying out their wings in the world, taking their first baby steps into lives of their own. This type of fiction features protagonists who fall into the “new adult” category and deals with themes that (hopefully) tweens and young adults aren’t ready to handle on a mature level yet—sexual relationships, developing identity, negotiating college or military deployment or their first “real” jobs, dealing with commitment or engagement, domestic violence, drug and alcohol use, family problems, etc.

New Adult can fall into any genre (contemporary, mystery, horror, romance, comedy etc) but its defining feature remains the age of the characters and the more adult themes they are dealing with as they enter the “grown-up” world. 

As for why I chose New Adult—I really didn’t. It chose me. I was writing “new adult” fiction before it became a thing, when there was no true market for it. For a long time, “New Adult” fiction had the same problem that tweens did—it straddled the fence. New Adult fiction fell into the cracks between two genres—a little too mature for young adults, but not quite right for full adult readership either. Now I’m glad to have found a home in “New Adult,” a place to belong, and I plan on settling in and staying here a long time!


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