Sunday, December 29, 2013

Everything old is new again. Gothic romance vs. New Adult romance

"New Adult" romance and "Gothic romance": Definitions

new adult
That’s the label that has been created for books in which the main characters transform from teenagers into adults and try to navigate the difficulties of post-adolescent life: first love, starting university, getting a job, and so on. The new genre is meant to be for readers aged 14-35.” Well, that’s a bit different! Readers from aged 14 to 35. Instead of “sex,” it’s about “post-adolescent life.” Of 14 and 35 year olds.

gothic romance
A typical Gothic romance revolved around conflict and mysteries. It made the heroine choose between two male characters for love. One is bright, sunny, cheerful and charming. The other was dark, mysterious, secretive, and brooding. Plotlines of cursed leads and daring adventures took place on wind-swept moors, and places that were haunted. The heroine would embark on a thrilling journey to discover if her hero was worthy of love. Her task usually boiled down to find out if the hero really murdered his first wife, brother, mother, insert other relation.

Well, is the "new adult" romance genre really new? Not really. If you take a good, deep gander at the definition of that old staple the "gothic romance", you'll find a lot of the same elements in "new adult." Face it: both genres have the damsel-in-distress motif. Gothic had the impoverished, brave, female orphan (of an age over 18) who was coming to her first job. It was usually a position at some dingy manor to teach the spawn of some widowed, brooding, tainted aristocrat. Heroes, alphas with shitty attitudes ruled this genre. The nice guy didn't stand a chance. The chick usually was virginal but spunky and came from a tragic background (family dead, pets dead). At the new job she encountered mystery and danger everywhere. And the possibility of marrying the Guy-with-the-Shitty atttitude and bratty kids. What joy!
From the definitions above, "new adult" has it all. At least the atmosphere of new, weird beginnings, a new job, a new life in a strange setting and having new experiences. "New adult" is just gothic romance without the virgin, with pre-marital sex, booze, drugs and snark. And for that touch of menace, even more alpha, misogynistic dudes. Voila, "new adult."
The "new adult" audience is growing and may be peaking but I predict its popularity will wane just like gothic romance's did as its readership's aged and its taste changed. Oh, gothic is still around. "New Adult" will survive but its authors will have to step up their game to keep the attention of its readers. Just like gothic.
This post has put me in the mood to re-read some Ann Radcliffe. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I'll be interviewed on January 6th, 2014

Dear readers,

Please come listen to an interview I'll be having a talk with Linda Mooney on her "Other Worlds of Romance" radio show. I'll be reading from the latest of my series. Event takes place on January 6th, 2014 at 11PM EST. Phone in with a question or email Linda with your question. It's only for half an hour so don't be late. If you can't listen live, catch the show in archive. Link to her show:

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Come to eXtasy Books' Christmas Party!
When: Friday, December 20th and Saturday, December 21st, 2013
Time: 9AM PST (48 hours of fun prizes and chats with authors!)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holding Out for a Hero

The profile of romance novel heroes has changed. Most definitely. The tattooed bad boy has just as much chance (maybe more) of getting the girl (or at the very least getting into her panties) as the tongue-tied guy-next-door. On another thought, that tongue-tied guy-next-door may give the bad boy a run for his money because Mr. Shy-and-Sedate may be hankering for the girl to literally tie his tongue and his hands. And a hero may not only be coveting the heroine. He may be dying to try on her pumps. Oh, the times, they are a changing! The mix is healthy as no one hero is everyone's hero. Bikers, doms, subs, demons, etc. blend with counts, dukes, princes, grease monkeys, etc. Many readers are eating it up. A lot are sitting it out because they can’t relate to it. They stick to their dashing pirates, minor aristocracy and home town boys.  These readers still love their Alpha males. It's just that this batch of Alpha males pushes the envelope. 

I’ll be truthful. Alpha types don’t do it for me. I adore Betas. The heros in my books have tons of Beta qualities. The secondary male characters tend to be Alphas. My heros cry, care and ruminate on matters. They don’t just lash out blindly. But when they do take action…watch out! The same manner exists when they lock on the woman they want. They take their time and still get the girl.

I do not know if the heroes in the latest books I've read and loved,  classify as Alphas. One book was Untamed by Anna Cowan. I loved the Duke of Darlington. First of all the book’s premise was spectacular; its prose as heady and captivating as the man himself. No, he is not your Grandmother’s romance hero, but he is a hero. The Duke was complex, multi-faceted and at times duplicitous. He was a human drawn in gray, not in black and white.
Another book that I liked was Unbound by Cara McKenna. The hero, Rob, took some getting used to but he was novel and different.

So, it seems to be room for many more departures from the tried-and-true in hero portrayals. I don’t go for the brutish, one-note emotionally ranged, loins of a jack-rabbit lovemaker type of hero. Hey, many want that. They like it. It sells. I, on the other hand, want more of the novel, ambiguous and different hero.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

An Android app all about me!

Below is an annoucement of my new app. It holds all my current ish. P. J. Dean's new Android Author App/Business e-Card. All my social media places, website, author bio, and sheer awesomeness in one place. Enjoy.

I'll be posting a real blog Monday.

Update: Make that Tuesday.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

World AIDS Day and new, uncharted territory in romance writing

Dedicated to my favorite uncle, Cyril (April 8, 1945-April 9, 1988).

I'd like to pay my yearly respects to World AIDS Day.

In the world of romance writing, let me re-iterate: Characters who use birth control and protection against STDs are not wanted. Not by the publisher or the reader. It's not the focus of the writing, and we are told time and time again that it's a downer. BUT...

With all the sexing (menage a trois, menage a quatre, anonymous encounters, BDSM, etc.) going on in the books, it should be crucial. Maybe a story about the quandary a hero or heroine finds themselves in when they want to do all the aforementioned in the course of one evening but whose supply of protection has run out? Oops! What's a horny person to do? Yeah, that would be an interesting novella. Especially if the love jones hits the character when the character is nowhere near a convenience store and the opportunity is a one time thing NEVER to come 'round again with this other person, crowd, pack of hybrid vampire/wolf-shifters, whatever.

With many partners, one should want to use protection. At least moisture-proof clothing or bedding. But I digress.

After all is said and done, readers should not mine the introduction of contraception or protection against STDs into the books they read. Don't be coy. You ARE reading it for the SEX. Let real life intrude. Hopefully, no one participating in all that activity is stupid enough not to use all types of protection. Allow and accept this very real fact of life to be written into all genres of romance books. It may not be entertaining but it's needed. People bitch about how romance books don't deal with the real. Maybe it's time they did.

Would you prefer reading romances without the realness of birth control or protection use? Or would you prefer reading romances which include persons using protection during a sex scene? Or would you prefer reading a romance about the aftermath of a life impacted by AIDS or a incurable STD due to reckless and/or guillible behavior?

There is room for all as the initially, tame territory of the romance novel has begun walking on the wild side.

Honor World AIDS Day on December 1st.