Friday, July 7, 2017
Authors are Readers, Too: My Reader Pet Peeves - Guest Blog by Lynn Winchester
As an author, I am also an avid reader. I devour books like a chocoholic devours chocolate. I spend late hours reading books, and then I make sure to take the time to write a review (reviews feed authors, you know!).
As a reader, there are a few things I’ve noticed about books currently all the rage in the romance circles. These things are things that drive me crazy, make me cringe, and make me want to toss the book into the DNR pile with great vehemence.
#1. Historical Heroines Who are Too Modern
I’m reading a historical Regency romance, and suddenly the heroine gets this idea in her head that she shouldn’t have to cow-tow to any man… Um, okay. That isn’t historically accurate and it usually leads to a pushy, ridiculously hare-brained heroine who makes it hard for the hero to be a gentleman. Whatever happened to the woman who allowed the hero to act like a hero? Suddenly, heroines are all about rescuing themselves. Great. It’s wonderful that women in modern times get a sense of empowerment, but that’s not what I read romance for. I read romance to feel ‘good’—that means I want to go ‘awww’ when the hero risks his life to rescue the heroine, or opens the door for her, or puts his well-pressed coat over a puddle so the heroine doesn’t get her shoes wet. I don’t read it so that I can see the heroine stomp through the puddle just to show the man she doesn’t need his help. And I certainly don’t read the story so I can get frustrated when the heroine keeps getting into trouble because she doesn’t understand and embrace her limitations as a woman. No! You CANNOT sneak into that criminal’s house! Are you physically capable of fighting off a man who has no qualms in killing you with his bare hands? No. You aren’t! So stop making the hero’s job more difficult!
Let the man treat you as a delicate creature, because YOU ARE, dang it! Realistically, you aren’t as strong or physically skilled for battle as a man is (forget Wonder Woman here, we’re talking Regency women, NOT Amazonians).
#2. Contemporary Heroines Who are Too Easy
I’m reading a contemporary romance where the heroine is supposedly this strong, independent woman who doesn’t need a man to make her feel like a person. Fast forward to the scene where she falls madly in love with the hero and gives him her goodies because he winks at her seductively. Come on, ladies! Make him work for it! I think contemporary romances would be deeper and have more tension (deliciously wonderful for eventual release) if there was more push and pull between the MCs. Ladies, you can’t call yourself a strong woman if you drop trou after an especially heavy petting session. Have some freaking self-control! Tell him NO and mean it! Make him so hard up for you, he’s willing to walk a tight rope between to canyon walls just to taste your kiss!
#3. Poor Editing Kills the Mood
With the proliferation of self-pubbed books, there is also the flood of poorly editing books. If you’re going to publish a book, have some pride in your work and get a professional editor to give it a twice or thrice over before you hit ‘publish’. That said, don’t just hire the cheapest option. In most cases, the cheapest editor is the least trained editor (or completely untrained and just hanging out their shingle because they see novice self-pub authors as easy pickings). Go for the editor with years and bestselling titles behind their names. If you skimp on the editing, your readers will see that, and it WILL hurt your reputation and your career moving forward. Splurge on editing, formatting, and cover design. Make the book just as good as any traditional publisher would put out, and you just may make as much money as those traditionally published authors.
As you can see, I am as critical of the books I read as the books I write…and that’s how it’s supposed to be.
What are your reader pet peeves?
The Rake’s Bride
Dry Bayou Brides
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Publisher: Charizomai Press, LLC
Date of Publication: June 27th
Word Count: 57k
Cover Artist: Dar Albert
Tagline: Lies, Fate, Redemption…
Jean-Luc La Fontaine is tired of sowing his wild oats. So, after a disastrous summer in France, he’s back in Dry Bayou, ordering himself a mail-order bride. A new wife will help him forget about the siren with sapphire eyes…
Intelligence, wealth, prestige… It means nothing when you fall in love with the wrong man. So, when scandal chases Isabeau Montefret from France, she runs to America, determined to forget the man with the wicked smile. Isabeau hoped becoming a mail-order bride was the answer to her problems. She’d change her name, start a new life, and lose herself in a small town. When she discovers that the man who disappeared with her heart is the man she agreed to marry, Isabeau settles in for the fight of her life.
When the one woman he’d left France to forget arrives in town, claiming she’s his new bride, Jean-Luc doesn't know what to feel. But when pain gives way to the truth, he must risk keeping a dark secret, one that would steal every chance at happiness. Isabeau once made him believe in happily ever after, now he must learn how to keep his new bride at a distance, lest he lose everything.
Can Jean-Luc be a true husband to the woman he's been deceiving? Can Isabeau convince Jean-Luc she’s his one true love? Will these two rediscover what they had once upon a summertime?
Isabeau Montefret swallowed the anxiety rising in her throat and stepped from the final stair, gently placing her foot on the polished floor of the large hotel lobby. Sucking in a deep breath, she squared her shoulders, focusing all her attention on making the trip from the staircase to the restaurant where she planned to eat a full meal for the first time since leaving New York, sixteen days ago.
She’d been in Dry Bayou for two days, but in that time, she hadn’t left the confines of her finely appointed hotel room. Each morning, she’d ordered tea and sandwiches sent up from the kitchens and nibbled on the offerings throughout the day. She made sure each meal lasted the full day, but goodness, she was hungry. Unfortunately, staying in the hotel cost more than she’d anticipated, taking nearly every penny she had left to her name. But, before she lost all nerve, she’d decided to use a bit of her remaining money to treat herself to the roast beef, the scent of which had wafted through the hotel and right under her door.
Straightening her skirts, she cast a quick glance at the reflective glass of the large double doors leading into the restaurant. She’d worn her best dress, one of the few she hadn’t had to sell in New York to pay her expenses. It was a deep violet, with a gathered skirt, tapered waist, square neckline, and straight quarter sleeves. Black netting encircled the skirt and black embroidered roses hugged the bodice, directing the eyes, most boldly, to her décolletage.
It was designed by one of the most sought-after modistes in France, and her maman had acquired her services at a premium. Staring down at her dress, Isabeau sighed. Her maman never considered that her eldest daughter would be wearing a Madame Celeste creation in the wilds of America. But Isabeau didn’t care. She never had. Her papa always said she’d been born with a book in her hands, and so it had been. Isabeau would spend hours in study or reading or exploring the gardens, while her younger, lovelier sister spent her time flirting and fluttering about like a brightly colored butterfly.
Oh, mon papillon, I never thought I’d miss you. Before her midnight flight from France, thoughts of her sister typically brought out sighs of frustration. But now… she hadn’t seen her family in months. Not since the morning her whole world fell to pieces.
The heat of shame rose in her face and she pressed her hands against her cheeks to hide it. It wouldn’t do to show weakness, not in front of so many strangers. She hated being the center of attention, hated being the focus of eyes and snickers and rumors. It was why she’d hid away in the library, her private sitting room, the rose garden. Hiding had become second nature, and her parents were tolerant of her choice to remain in her sister’s shadow.
Until last summer, when her father summoned her to his study, told her she was to wed within the year, and settled a dowry of 20,000 francs over her head. In an instant, she’d become the belle of every ball, the topic of every breakfast conversation, the target of every fortune hunter in France. She hated it. So, for the first time in her life, she disobeyed her father’s command. Rather than exposing herself to the leering rakes and the claws of jealous debutantes, she did what she did best. She hid… but he still found her. He still made her love him. He still broke her heart. She dreamt of becoming his wife—she should have been his wife even now. But instead, she was sworn to marry a complete stranger. A man who could very well be an ogre. Honestly, it didn’t matter if an American prince claimed her hand, he would never be the one she truly wanted.
She closed her eyes to push back the tears. Oh, mon amour, her heart sighed. Where had he gone? Why did he leave? It was a question she’d asked every day for the last two-hundred and forty days. But she’d be a fool to think she’d ever know the answer. He was gone. There had to have been a reason, something that made him run from her and from the love he felt for her.
Though he’d never said as much, she knew he cared for her. She felt it right down to her bones. But what did that matter now? Now, she was standing in the doorway of a surprisingly elegant hotel restaurant, wondering if she could afford the meal and another night in her room. She’d left New York City with only forty dollars in her reticule, and she hoped it would be enough to travel to Dry Bayou and find lodging, at least until the morning of April 28. Today was the twenty-seventh. Tomorrow… Tomorrow was the day she’d come face-to-face with the man she’d promised to marry.
About the Author:
Lynn Winchester is the pseudonym of a hardworking California-born conservative, now living in the wilds of Northeast Pennsylvania. Lynn has been writing fiction since the 5th grade, and enjoys creating worlds, characters, and stories for her readers.
When Lynn isn't writing she is running a successful editing business, reading whatever she can get her hands on, raising her four children, making sure her husband is happy, and binge watching shows on Netflix.