Giving Up On Romance?

*Heavy sigh* Recently, (as I’m working, teaching as a volunteer, dealing with life in general, writing fan fiction and crit fiction, and continuing to attempt to finish novels like Oracle) I read about five romance stories available on Amazon for my Kindle. All of them were by white writers and half of them were historical romances. At the behest of my friend, I also started reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. But for right now I want to talk about the romances I read.

I’m glad I didn’t pay for four of them. The fact that four of them were offered for free has no reflection on their quality. The fault lies in the genre of romance and the publishing market itself.

Romance, as much as I love it, appears to be a pitiful genre. A pitiful genre fluffed with toxic disappointments and ignorant white fantasies. I mean, J.R. Ward pretty much destroyed my desire to read anything for almost ten years. That’s not an exaggeration. I literally never wanted to pick up another book again, especially not a romance. It wasn’t just because of what Ward chooses to write in her books (and what she actively chooses to exclude), its because I lost all faith her as a writer because of things she posted on her blog and her cloud of brainwashed flunky readers backing up her every word. I lost faith in all authors at that point. Even myself.

With the extreme deficit of general love in my life, I’m not sure my brain is wired to want literature devoid of that sweet pulsing vein of erotic, romantic passion. As long as writers are pandering to a specific pattern, a marketable trend, romance can never be what I need it to be. And I’ll never be satisfied with the way things are.

Faced with an impossible choice: Ween myself off romance and find something more fulfilling? Or have faith that underneath all the crap there’s a few shining jewels of romantic literature worth the time its taking to find them?

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Current Work in Progress: ‘Dionna’s Wish’

A romance story sprang to life in my mind at the end of November while I was participating in National Novel Writing Month–that’s Dionna’s Wish. Intended to be a short story, it turned into a short novel before I knew it.

Dionna’s Wish takes place in a world where Santa Claus is not only real but also only one alias within an entire race of empathic beings called Santas who came to our plane of existence to give cheer, hope, gifts, and magic to humans and bask in the energy created by such goodness. Centuries after their arrival, the hatred of humanity visits the tragic horror of murder upon the gestalt-minded Santas, when the soulmate of Santa Nicholas is killed. Having seen a new face in a vision bequeathed on her by the Northern Lights at the North Pole, Nicholas’s friend, Santa Yule, takes it upon herself to find the woman she saw in the lights all those years ago and somehow save Nicholas from the despair of his loss and his growing hate of humankind.

So our story finds Dionna Jackson, a human, newly unemployed and looking for work in her neighborhood, which is being terrorized by the local police who recently murdered an innocent young woman whose only crime was being Black. Secretly terrified of leaving the house because of this neglected upsurge of violence aimed at the Black community in the wake of the incidents like Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and in her own city, the open-minded Dionna is more than willing to embark on an adventure when Yule appears to her and offers to take her to the fantastical winter wonderland of the North Pole to meet Saint Nick.

Though she is deliberately callous in the face of Nicholas’s melancholy, grief, and grudging hospitality after Yule brings her to his domain (uninvited), Dionna begins to wonder if she can help heal his heart and find a place there. Nicholas still mourns the love of his life and struggles, like many of his kind, to hold on to his identity as a Santa within his race, the Saints, with their faith in humankind waning every holiday. In the meantime, whilst romance brews, Dionna is introduced to a magical sphere crafted by the Santas known as Holy, which can grant one wish…at the expense of the human wish-maker’s life. Tired of being afraid to walk out her front door and watching racialized violence and murder continue to be a regular part of her life, Dionna contemplates the unthinkable….

Can she bring a slice of peace to the world by sacrificing her life? Will Holy grant her wish this Christmas night?

That description is full of bulky sentences but that’s what the story is about.

I’ve had some stops and starts trying to finish it within three months and find myself struggling to end the first draft. However, I’ve always wanted to write a holiday themed story during its holiday (at least start one during its intended holiday, that is) and I’m stubborn enough to push through to the end.

Write on, Gurl!

I have completed the draft of my second short story this year and will let it ruminate for now.
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The first one I finished, Fire Ribbon (which I mentioned without title in 18 Things This Creative Artist Has Done So Far This Year) is a romantic/erotic romance fantasy short with three different endings and two different versions–the first version of the story has nameless characters with no dialogue, purely romantic with a fantasy element and takes place in a fictional town.
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The other two stories start out similarly to the first in the same fictional town and are exactly the same until they diverge at the climax of the story and have different endings; it’s definitely erotic and romantic in nature with a kinky bite and delves more into the fantasy end of things with mysterious, magical characters that suddenly pop up together. So Fire Ribbon has two versions with three different endings. I was thinking about those old Goosebumps books that told you what page to turn to and it effected the plot and what ending you got! I also couldn’t which version of the story I wanted to write so I just wrote and kept them all.
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The story I finished this past week is titled Purple Avatar: the rage. This short story/novella follows Micah Highlander, an ex-child soldier turned bodyguard for an escort service, as she guards her charge and secret love interest, Sable Kindes, living on a futuristic technologically advanced Earth unduly influenced by corporate interest and discriminatory body regulations. For a futuristic story, that’s certainly nothing new, right! Its themes are fat positivity, sci-fi/afrofuturism, erotic romance, and dystopian. It originally started out serialized as “Shihoin Avatar: the rage” on two other blogs of mine. After my blogs weren’t doing so well in terms of audience, I didn’t really think it mattered if I deleted them, so I did and I thought Purple Avatar: the rage would never be finished. Then, at some point after that, I made up my mind to finish every story I’ve ever written that has an ending or conceivable ending and that’s how I got to this moment where I can say I finished it! I think there’s a lot of room for more of the story, including Micah’s travels around the galaxy and her past as a conscripted cybernetic child soldier.
I’ve already started finishing Crypt of Angels, the second half of The Taker (which you can read for free on JukePop Serials or buy on Smashwords for 0.99 cent to help me out) and the second and final book of Path of the Righteous, Scepter of the Sovereign (no banner yet, my bad).
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