Saturday, November 04, 2006

How Old Are You, Really?

I read an interesting column the other day (of course now, I can't remember where) about the age of romance novel heroines. Most seem to be floating somewhere in the 26-34 age range. Years ago, I entered a contest and had a judge tell me my 22-yer old heroine was too young. Hmm. I've always kept that in the back of my mind, as if the general romance readership isn't really interested in a heroine that couldn't possibly have any baggage at the tender age of 22.

But this column talked about the other end of the spectrum - the 40+ romance novel heroine. We know they're out there, of course. But how popular are they, and will they become a bigger trend? What about 50+ heroines? I mean, OK, I'm still in my early 30's, but I'd like to think that romance, that the need for love and affection and good old-fashioned sex, continues well past middle age. Here's the thing: will readers identify with a heroine who's at that age and stage in her life? Or, as this columnist suggested, do most women readers identify with a younger heroine because that's the age they still think of themselves? Are we all, somehow, and somewhere deep inside, hovering around 16 or 25 or whenever it is that we remember really and truly falling in love for the first time?

In many ways, I still feel 24 (I have always looked back at that age as the moment when everything in my life was most perfect and unencumbered). So when I'm 50, will I still feel half my age? Maybe not physically, but emotionally and psychologically?

More important, will I want to read about heroines who are my own age? Or will I prefer to identify with a twenty-something heroine because she reminds me of who I once was, and who I sometimes still think I am, inside?

What do you think?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Joke for the Day

What do you call someone who can't stop buying romance novels?

A heroine addict!

(Cute, right?)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Hate Electronic Submissions

This is not entirely true. Normally, I like them. I prefer them. They're much more convenient, and usually elicit a faster response, than queries sent by snail mail.

But today I had one bite me in the...well, you know where.

About 5 weeks ago, I submitted a query and partial to Virtual Tales. They were interested. So I followed up and sent the first 1/3 of my ms. (they consider works-in-progress).

Today I got an email from the editor with the subject line "Problem With Your Manuscript." Not a good sign.

Basically, when I attached and sent my ms., I somehow attached the wrong file, the file that includes the rough ending of the story and not the polished first 1/3. Terrific.

The only redeeming thing is that they asked me to send a "fixed" version, giving me a second chance. That's awfully nice of them. Because I feel like a complete numbskull who doesn't really deserve one.

Oh! It is so easy to slip up when you point and click and hit a button or two. Yikes...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I attended a conference at a local college recently, and one of the speakers addressed Educational Technology. He referred to everyone over 20 as "technology immigrants" and everyone under 20 as "technology natives." His point was that today's kids grow up so immersed in the world of all things electronic, that compared to them, we adults are dinosaurs, doing the best we can just to keep up. Or not.

I consider myself somewhat technologically literate, but when it comes to HTML, I'm really limited. Creating a webpage was a big deal for me, and I relied on a template anyway, so I didn't have to do too much. But I really love when people's blogs have links, so this is my first time trying to figure out how to insert them.

My writing friend, Marianne, for example, is a whiz at HTML. She makes it look easy.

Me, I'm just going to start with the small stuff. Like a link to my two favorite shows on TV these days, Prison Break and The Nine.

And maybe a link to another great blog, by agent Kristin Nelson.

Anyone in the romance-writing field should definitely know about The Passionate Pen, too. Terrific, up-to-date info on agents and publishers.

Whew! I'm worn out now. Did it work? I'll have to check and see. Maybe I'll try some more linking tomorrow...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Prison Break

So you know I love this show, right? I mean, when you are actually made to cheer for the bad guys, you know someone has done a fantastic job creating those characters. How is it possible that I actually feel sorry for T-Bag, the evilest of them all, who's killed and wounded countless other people on his break from jail? How is it that he still manages to show a human side of himself that aches for companionship and love?

Good stuff, I'm telling you.

In other news, here's another cheer out to agent Pam Hopkins, who writes some of the nicer rejection letters. Though she turned down my latest project, she wrote, "I regret having to tell you that I've decided to pass on this. However, please keep in mind that there is a great deal of merit in your work, and part of my decision was based on my client list being so full at this time."

Everyone knows that a no is still a no, but I've certainly received less kind words from far more agents. And last time she turned me down, she wrote, "While I liked many elements of this project, ultimately I was just not as enthusiastic about this story as I would need to be to pursue taking it on for representation."

So she doesn't have one single form letter for all her rejections, apparently. All things considered, this is one tactful, kind agent who's worth querying.