Top Ten Ways Romance Authors Lie to You
As a contemporary romance author and a cozy author who loves to add romance to my mystery plots, writing the title hurt a little bit. Okay, it hurt quite a bit. If you are in a serious relationship or married, you know what kind of pretty half-truths we writers employ to get you to melt into your chair and never leave until gorgeous guy kisses beautiful girl in front of a glorious sunset. Just like the Masked Magician in the television show The Masked Magician threw his fellow magicians under the proverbial bus by exposing the secrets of illusions, I’m about to reveal the top 10 “lies” writers use to make you swoon. So, play along while the Wrapped Writer (not so clever, but I don’t have time to come up with something else with fitting alliteration) exposes the illusion of fictional love.
#1: Man must be gorgeous.
Newsflash: not all men are hot; some aren’t even good-looking; some have a face only a mother could love. However, looks really are inconsequential when it comes to finding the guy that will make you happy. Looks fade away; personality does not.
#2: Every kiss tastes of something besides real life.
This one is my favorite, both to exploit readers and to be exploited by. But, if you have ever been kissed, you know the truth. Kisses, unless both kissers are prepared and have either brushed their teeth or chewed gum, taste nothing like romance books’ puckers. Here is a taste of real-life kisses: garlic, coffee, anything eaten for lunch (like tacos or salty fries), wine, and the mother of all tastes: morning breath.
#3: Two people must overcome battles to find each other.
I met my future husband on a smoke break. Nothing romantic, nothing dangerous (unless you count smoking as dangerous), no spies trying to kill us, no ex-lover trying to win back my or his affection. We just met, liked each other, and the rest is history. You, too, can have this simple, albeit boring romantic adventure. If your relationship requires high level of espionage or unpacked baggage, you might be in for a world of hurt when the relationship settles around “Hey, will you pick up some lettuce on your way home from work?”
#4: Female protagonist is petite and pretty.
This is a “lie” I try not to partake in as an author, but many romance writers succumb to this characterization ploy. Women come in all shapes and sizes and colors; a real man will look at personality and not the size on the label in a pair of jeans or the cup size of a bra.
#5: Female protagonist is outspoken and may occasionally throw something.
So, I sin with this lie. Here’s why. Because part of me, and I’m assuming other romance writers feel the same, wishes I could be like my female characters. I wish I could speak my mind when angry instead of stew in silence. I wish I could be brave enough to smash a vase against the wall to show my frustration at times. And because I can’t/won’t/shouldn’t do these things, my characters sometimes do. Bye-bye sheepish author lady, hello sexy vixen who knows just the right words to say just the right things.
#6: Muscles are in.
The only six pack worth having, ladies, is a six pack of your favorite beverage. Six packs are difficult to attain and even tougher to maintain, so unless your main squeeze spends all his time in the gym and eats a very specific diet, you will have to deal with some pudge and a slight love handle or two.
#7: Every time lovers touch, electricity happens.
Um…no. Just a plain, big, old, fat no. It may happen that when you hold your significant other’s hand, jolts of hormones and pheromones and whatever else race up your skin. But if this phenomenon does not happen, please, please, please don’t freak out. You are not falling out of love; you are simply being human holding another human’s hand. Don’t expect butterflies, lighting bolts, or whatever other metaphor we authors throw at you every time you touch your lover.
#8: Weather as a barometer of The Love Journey.
Authors use weather as a symbolic device. You will not experience rebirth or rejuvenation every time it rains; you will simply get wet.
#9: The end is the end.
The end is only the beginning. Where the author leaves the couple in a passionate embrace is where real life takes over. Oil changes, spit-up, diaper duty, household chores, honey-do lists, and life begin at “the kiss.”
#10: Romance is huge, planned events.
Romance is the opposite. It’s the little moments, the insignificant moments that add up to colossal romance. Late night grocery store missions, snuggling on the couch, a back rub just because, loading/unloading the dishwasher, getting the kids out of the house make up a true relationship. Don’t lose that for an ideal that literally only exists in fiction.
So, in closing, please remember that fictional romance is exactly what it is: fictional. Read it, enjoy it, find escape in it, but then leave it and enjoy real-life romance as well. The real-life stuff is better anyway!
Murder Most Pemberley (Eliza Darcy Mysteries)
by Jessica Berg
About Murder Most Pemberley
Murder Most Pemberley (Eliza Darcy Mysteries)
1st in Series
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing (March 8, 2021)
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, LLC (February 16, 2021)
Eat a crumpet. Check. Say “bloody hell” in an English pub. Check. Solve three murders and fall in love? Definitely not on the list. But when England dishes up murder, even an American girl knows it’s time to channel her inner Agatha Christie.
American Eliza Darcy travels to Merry Old England to partake in a Darcy/Bennet family reunion for one reason: to solve the estrangement between her father and uncle. Not long after Eliza’s arrival and exploration of the vast estate of her ancestors, a dead body surfaces. Murder and mayhem replace afternoon teas and flirting with her British heartthrob. Eliza has every intention of keeping her snoot out of official Scotland Yard business, but when clues to the murder begin to merge with her investigation into her family’s rift, her inner wannabe sleuth self-activates.
With the help of her batty great-aunt and the sexy Heath Tilney, Eliza hurries to untangle the web of lies and secrets. As corpses start to pile up faster than the clues, Eliza fears the estate’s family graveyard will swallow another body: hers.
About Jessica Berg
Jessica Berg, a child of the Dakotas and the prairie, grew up amongst hard-working men and women and learned at an early early age to “put some effort into it.” Following that wise adage, she has put effort into teaching high school English for over a decade, being a mother to four children (she finds herself surprised at this number, too), basking in the love of her husband of more than fifteen years and losing herself in the imaginary worlds she creates.
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