Not so “fluffy” anymore.

Writing is all about transformation, in my opinion. The reader hopefully undergoes a transformation when reading a book. If all goes well, it should touch them or make them laugh and forget their problems for a while. It might inspire them to try something new or reconsider an opinion.

However, I think it should also be a vehicle for transformation within the writer. For me, writing is a constant learning experience. I feel as if I’ve learned so much since picking up the pen for book one, but I continue to discover new things about myself and my writing style every day.

When I look back at my early romances, I see books that are light and sexy and (dare I say it?) even a little “fluffy.” I can admit it. They are beach reads. Nothing wrong with that.  The thing is, I don’t feel all that fluffy anymore.

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I have been craving a bit more substance with my romances. This is not to imply romance can’t have substance. After all, for many, the biggest risk they can take in life is to fall in love and overcome their personal hurdles. Love can be scary and bracing and biting.  At the same time, I long to explore other topics, to show a bit more of the motivations riding my characters. For many, those motivations spring from tragedy and loss.

My shape shifter series is a good example of this transformation. When it began, it was very much a fun and flirty series with easily-resolved conflicts. Each book ended tidily. Not so much with the latest books. In book 5, a new villain emerged and we glimpse a darker side to my characters and their family lives. Readers have told me they’ve enjoyed the blurred lines and darker themes and I’m so glad they have.

I’ve begun a new contemporary romance series featuring a trio of contractor brothers. When I envisioned it, again, I imagined a light, feel-good series of romances. Now that I’ve almost finished book 1, I suddenly have a subplot dealing with the hero’s PTSD. Honestly, I never saw that coming. I had his conflicts and wounds all laid out in an outline and one day I started writing about PTSD. I began to research it. This condition not only affects veterans, it can affect those who’ve witnessed tragedy (my hero’s situation). There are dark moments and I hope my readers will be willing to experience them with me.

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What is the moral of this story? When you read one of my books, you will still get the elements you’ve always found in my writing: humor, fun and a whole lot of sexiness. But I think from now on, you’ll get more. You’ll see life as it is, flawed and frightening and sometimes sad. However, at the end of the day, you’ll also feel a lot of hope and inspiration. I will never leave you with an ending that is anything other than happy. That is my promise to you.

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15 thoughts on “Not so “fluffy” anymore.

  1. I really like the way you deal with dark themes, like the different kinds of addiction in Vice and Predator’s Rescue. The books are still very fun, but I think they’re more real because of the issues your characters face. They really resonate emotionally, and it sounds like your new series will be no different! Really looking forward to reading them! 🙂

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    • Thank you, Jessica. I do love a fun romance but for some reason, my Muse isn’t allowing me to have too much fun these days. LOL

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  2. I have notice a few writers who have basically made their stories more realistic. One of my favorites has been getting a lot of static about the changes in the story lines. I say let the author write. It is her idea and story to tell. I enjoy your books and writing style. When a person don’t enjoy a series anymore then stop reading it but don’t try to tell the author how to write them.. I have enjoyed all your books so far and I thought the gambling problem in Vice was handled very well. Plan to get the new series as soon as it’s available at B&N.

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    • Thanks for all your support and kind words, Fran. I’m so pleased you’ve enjoyed everything so far. I don’t think it’s in my nature to leave out all the funny bits (I like them too much), but life isn’t always funny. I think a blend of light and dark wins every time. Hugs!

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      • Ye it does, The books are more real that way. Every oce in while though I enjoy just a quick fast read that is funnt and sexy and a HEA.

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  3. I know what you mean, Rosanna. It’s great to read a light romance, but it’s especially fantastic to blend the two, to blur the lines and have more meat to a romance. Especially when it’s done well 😉 I always find myself rooting more for the characters when there’s so much at stake! I cheer you on, lol!

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    • Thanks for the cheers and support, Sophie! It’s always a little scary when considering a change but in this case, I’m looking forward to trying new things. Hugs!

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  4. I am right there with you. I like light and fluffy, and sometimes the brain does need a palette cleanser, but I’ve found (especially in my paranormals) that my characters are increasingly complex and going through things that are not light or fun, both internally and externally.

    I began writing my current WIP right before my father was diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma, as an example. My heroine’s story evolved from that of a girl who had been kicked out of her house by uninterested parents to a girl who had a very complicated relationship with her now-deceased father, but loved him very much and part of her journey was accepting him for his faults, forgiving him for whatever he’d done to hurt her, and embracing her love for him even after he’d gone. Some of the dialogue is coming straight from the last conversations I had with my father, which makes it very difficult but cathartic. I needed this as a vehicle to say goodbye.

    In my world, writing is whatever it needs to be for me in the moment. The past year has been very difficult and emotional, so the book is too. Once I’m done, I’ll probably take a break and try for something lighter.

    As a reader, the books that land an emotional punch are the ones I insist upon revisiting. I’m reading one now where the premise somewhat suggest it be light and goofy, but it’s incredibly deep and introspective, and I love it.

    I also love that you’re not going to dismiss the funny — life can be dark, but it can also be funny, and often it can be both simultaneously. Those emotional stories are, IMO, better when they have a funny-bone, because it humanizes the story and makes it real.

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    • Thanks so much for your comment, Rosalie, and please accept my condolences on the passing of your father. To be frank, much of my motivation lately has come from the recent death of my mother-in-law, who endured her third bout with cancer and finally lost the struggle. It`s because of those family experiences that my “darker” side emerged in my writing, but in many ways, it felt good. It felt right and it seemed a bit of a tribute to her. As a wife, mom and daughter, I have come to learn that life sends us many obstacles and I need to explore those in my writing as well. Thank you for sharing your story and all the best on your writing journey!

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      • “It`s because of those family experiences that my “darker” side emerged in my writing, but in many ways, it felt good. It felt right and it seemed a bit of a tribute to her.”

        I know exactly what you mean. And my condolences to you and your family.

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  5. I never thought your books as ‘fluffy’. I think it is more about growing as a writer and the characters with you, getting deeper and dealing with more issues. The happening in our lives have an impact on everything we do and that includes writing.
    Just keep writing and I’ll keep reading.

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  6. Great post! I’m glad to see more authors going in this direction. I do think there’s a place for both types of romance novels, and I enjoy both depending on my mood and needs. Recently I read an editor prediction that books were headed toward the light and fluffy direction and I’m like noooooo give me deep, dark and broody, too! lol

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    • Thanks. Amy. I read that prediction too and honestly I think it was at the back of my head when I planned my new series and then all of a sudden, my characters led me down a different path. I’m glad to know dark and broody still appeal to you!

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