Sunday, 13 July 2008

The world according to Sheila….

I was talking to this fairly well known e-book writer and acquaintance today. I mentioned that I had almost finished the follow on book from Tantalizing Tilly. I just had to go back and write some sex scenes. You have to be in the mood, don’t you? Anyway this writer – let’s call her Sheila, for the sake of her anonymity - said to me – it would be easy to write my books as they are all the same. Hmm, I see – bitchy remark or someone on drugs? Please explain Sheila. According to Sheila all book writers of her acquaintance write the same book over and over and slap another title on it. See why I’m calling her ‘Sheila’ now? According to Sheila – romance writers all write the same characters and thoughts and do not deviate from that. We also write sex by the numbers. Jeez, we’re bad buggers aren’t we?

My thoughts? I think Sheila is partly correct. Why? Because each author writes from experience. My books are going to have a common feel to them. I’m not going to write a heroine as being weak. She will be strong and mouthy and flawed. And yeah I’ll try to put in snappy dialogue because I like snappy dialogue. And yes, all the romance books I have read since I was a kid have a standard premise – the hero and heroine meet – there is chemistry – they fall in love – something drives them apart but they get back together in the end because they love each other. Problem with that? None that I can see. It’s a time and memoriam thing be it erotica or sweet romance. But then people buy romance knowing that. It’s the escape they want, Sheila – knowing at least one thing is going to plan or remains normal in maybe a tense period in their lives. Is that a bad thing? No, it isn’t.

Sex by numbers…yeah – sure – there is a very good chance that if you read one of my books the characters will be having sex somewhere strange – an elevator, outside in a park, in a photo booth etc. If you read an Anny Cook book then one or more of the characters will be body pierced somewhere interesting. Why? Because that’s like a trademark of our writing. You pick up a book knowing that there is a good possibility that the author will write in a certain way. Isn’t that why you buy the book in the first place? You like the author’s voice? Is that a problem? I don’t think so, Sheila.

No, I’m not mad at Sheila. It’s just one opinion among many. She’s entitled to it. I expect she knows she can tell me stuff like this as I won’t get my knickers in a knot over it. I did discuss it with some other writers though to gauge their opinion. Generally, they did not care. Why? To be a writer you must have a thick skin to survive. I must point out Sheila does not consider her books are all the same. Interesting huh? Whatever works for you Sheila. What do you think? Is the romance book world according to Sheila correct? Or does Sheila need to get off her high horse? Or do we all just have a laugh on move on?

On to all things winnable….

The Amarinda and Anny Contest

What could be better than kicking back with a good book? Winning two books - one from Amarinda Jones – Knock Three Times and one from Anny Cook – Kama Sutra Lovers. Fantastic. You want more? Be the envy of all with two hand made hair piks to adorn your locks. But wait – there’s even more! How about munching on a delicious care pack of Aussie treats? One lucky reader will win all of this. How do you win this fantastic prize? Go to and answer an easy question -

If trapped on a deserted island what two things could Anny and Amarinda not live without? The answers can be found on the websites. As soon as you have them email with your answers – there will be 4 in all.

The contest starts 18th July and closes midnight 23rd July 2008 (USA EST). The first correct entry drawn at random will win the prize. Good luck.
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?


barbara huffert said...

Have a laugh and move on. I agree, the basic formula for romances is all pretty much the same. It's how we spin it that makes each book different.

Those animals are down right scary.

Ashley Ladd said...

I've missed your blog and your special brand of humor - my fault, my computer's on the fritz and I'm having to beg, borrow, and steal computers today to check in.

Anyway, that's pretty bitchy of this Sheila. So her books are all different and exciting and no one else's are? Hm... Interesting.

I know we all have our trade marks which I thought was part of our voice and like you said, why our readers like our books. I think I vary mine quite a bit. I think I'll continue thoughts on this on my blog tomorrow. I'm going to pre-schedule my posts as it may be a week or two before DS#1 fixes my computer/Internet. So if I don't respond for awhile, you'll know why.

Anny Cook said...

Hang in there, Ashley!

As for the books all being the same... well, if they were where would the effort and work to that be? Just do a find/replace on the names and you're good to go. Geez, I wonder why it took me so long to write Love Never-Ending then? Ummm, five months on one book when all I had to do was change the names...

Sheila, you should have told us the secret before now!

Sandra Cox said...

Love the goat with braces.
Contest sounds fantastic.
Does Sheila write romance or a different genre all together?

Jacquéline Roth said...

Whatever to Shiela. I think she's dead wrong and maybe just a bit high on herself. Her books are different and new, but no one elses are. Sure honey, whatever gets you through.

Regina Carlysle said...

MMMM. Interesting theory from Sheila. While it's true, many romances can seem pretty formulaic, but the difference is in the VOICE of the writer. I mean, we ALL know we'll get our happy ending. What's wrong with that. Writing is NOT a "delete name/insert another name" kind of deal.

Katie Reus said...

I don't like it when people generalize an entire group of people. Whether its writers or teachers, or whatever. It's ignorant.

That being said, I think she's missing a couple things. Romance is going to have HEA. It's what people who read romance expect, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's formulaic. Don't get me wrong, it can be, but I think times have changed and so many authors are pushing boundaries. It also sounds like she's confusing voice with characterization, but that's just my opinion :)