Don’t mess with my happy…or “you can’t do that in my romance novel.”

Mentink

Are you a voracious reader? Me too! And let me tell you, I invest plenty of emotion in the books that I devour. If certain things happen in the course of said novels, I can get quite PEEVED. Below is a personal list of items that I cannot tolerate in a romance novel.

1. Don’t kill the dog. I mean to say! If I’m reading a thriller or gritty mystery, fine, but in a romance novel, I want to eventually feel happy. Please do not kill any beloved pets or I’m going to put that novel down.

2. Don’t switch tones on me. If we start the book off as a frothy, fun to read romance, don’t plop some heavy bombshell in chapter six, along the lines of a brutal attack or sudden death. That’s changing the rules of our relationship. Not to say I don’t want intensity and surprises, but keep the tone of the novel consistent throughout.

3. Watch the dialect, please. You can tell me that Wanda Sue speaks with a southern drawl and I’ll insert that into my inner reader. You don’t need to write it into the dialogue. “Ya’ll keep comin’ ’round now, hear?” is just going to annoy me after twenty pages.

Can you relate to any of my pet peeves? What peeves you about novels? Giving away an Amazon gift card and signed book at the end of the month. Would love to hear your thoughts!

Those scene stealing animal sidekicks.

Dog with suitcases

Harry has his Hedwig. Dorothy has Toto and there would be no Lone Ranger exploits without the faithful Silver. Animal sidekicks can sometimes emerge to be the unsung heroes of books or movies.

It’s funny how a character that can’t even speak can take over an entire novel. This happened in my latest book for Harlequin Heartwarming. The culprit? Baggy the dog. Sure his real life inspiration won an ugliest dog contest, but I get plenty of emails and messages from Baggy’s fans. Here’s a little snippet in which I explain where Baggy came from.

https://audioboo.fm/boos/2399998-snippet-from-return-to-pelican-inn

Hey! Let’s see if we can make a list of animal sidekicks from books or movies. Add a comment and you’re entered to win the drawing this month. Giving away an Amazon gift card and signed book! Hi-yo, Silver!

Jennifer Slattery’s book winner is…

Linda Presley! Congratulations and thank you to all who gave her such a warm welcome!

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Beyond I Do…a guest blog and giveaway by Jennifer Slattery

 

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It’s a great day to welcome a guest to my blog…fellow author Jennifer Slattery who’s here to chat about her book and offer a giveaway! Post a comment to enter the drawing to win a copy of Jennifer’s book, Beyond I Do. Below is a little blurb to whet your appetite.

Beyond I Do

Ainsley Meadow’s encounter with a woman, her child, and their abuser sparks a passion that threatens her engagement. Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiance or tear them apart?

Raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé.

To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

About the author: Jennifer writes and edits for Christ to the World Ministries, and also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Cafe Devotions, and Jewels of Encouragement and manages the social media for Takin’ it to the Streets, an Omaha Metro ministry that serves Omaha’s working poor and homeless. She co-hosts Living by Grace, a modern-day “meet at the well” Facebook community.

You can find out more about Jennifer via her website at http://www.jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.

When you should change your ‘no’ to a ‘yes!’

imageI don’t write children’s books. It’s just not in my repertoire at the moment. I’m pretty busy writing for two different lines and keeping up with life in general. Makes sense that I’d say ‘no’ to the opportunity to write a children’s traffic safety book for our local school district. Of course, I said yes. Why? Because I’m a teacher at heart and we’ve lost precious young people in our district in bicycle related accidents. No, children’s fiction is not my genre, but yes, there are enough reasons to change my answer to a ‘yes.’

Did I mention I don’t write short stories either? If I’m asked to participate in an anthology, I say ‘no.’ So when my publisher asked me to write a short suspense to be used as a giveaway, of course I said…yes! Why? One, it was a wonderful promotional opportunity. Two, I love to give things away, it’s like party favors! Three, it was a professional challenge to write a twisty, edge of your seat suspense/romance in 10,000 words!

So sometimes it’s a good idea to rethink some of our decisions. Did you ever do something you’d previously promised yourself you wouldn’t? How did it turn out? Giving away some neato prizes this month.

 

Here’s the link to the online short story. It’s a free read on the Harlequin site.

http://www.harlequin.com/articlepage.html;jsessionid=5F995D6050EEE523F44015B85FD19EB5?articleId=1703&chapter=1

Why writers should ‘just say no!’

12808921_sI’m sure you’re aware that the role of an author has changed significantly. We don’t whack out a jolly good novel, hand it over to the publisher and let them do the heavy promotional lifting. It’d be swell if we could, but that just isn’t the way the world is. Authors have to market their work. Period. So which avenues should a hardworking writer gal pursue to this end? Here’s a brief list of platforms that have been recommended to me.

Facebook, Twitter, personal blog, website, Pinterest, Tumbler, Instagram, Linked in, Goodreads, SnapChat, publisher sponsored forums, You Tube, group author blogs, etc. etc.

Boy oh boy would all these things help get the word out about the wonder that is a Dana Mentink book. One eensy weensy problem. I don’t have the time to participate in all these things and still produce any meaningful writing. Fact is, I’ve just got to say no to many of these nifty opportunities. I choose a few from the list that feel the most authentic to me (Facebook, Twitter, various blogs, Goodreads) and I try my best to keep up with them. Is it going to make me a N.Y. Times bestseller? Nope. Will I keep my sanity? Hopefully!

Are there things in your life you’ve had to say no to in order to keep your sanity? Would love to hear your thoughts. Giving away an Amazon gift card and a signed book in August!

Your romantic hero can’t do THAT job…can he?

HeroesAs I plunge into writing my second romance for Harlequin’s Heartwarming, I’m grappling with a sticky question. Can Cy Franco, a home decorator be a romantic hero?

The majority of heroes in romance novels have those rugged, manly occupations such as Navy Seal, homicide detective, F.B.I. agent, cowboy, doctor, millionaire, etc. etc. They also tend to have manly names like Dirk, Hunter, Jack and such. Do I love these heroes? Absolutely! Who wouldn’t? So why don’t I write heroes like this? Because it’s obvious. We already know the people holding these jobs are heroic. They have skills, they are incredible, but we knew that before  page one. The rules for romantic comedy are different, of course, but still we tend to want our men in manly jobs.

It’s so much more enticing to me to write about…say… a botanist. Sure he’s got plant skills, but how’s he going to do against a murderer intent on killing his girlfriend? How is a down and out lawyer with no remodeling skills going to resurrect an ancient inn? Now, I’m interested.

What about a man in a profession that has been historically female? Let’s say, a male kindergarten teacher or a nurse. The jobs aren’t brimming with testosterone. That’s where it comes down to author skill, doesn’t it? A Navy Seal is already a romantic hero, but a male kindergarten teacher can become one if the author is skilled enough. If I asked you to list the heroes in your life, I’m betting most would not mention a Navy Seal, a racecar driver, or an F.B.I agent. Heroes are everymen and women, people who find themselves fighting battles that they are not professionally or personally equipped to handle.

So what do I say when people tell me I can’t feature home decorator Cy as a romantic hero?

Watch me!

So who are the heroes in your life and what are their occupations? I’ll bet we get a very interesting list! Giving away an Amazon card and a choice of signed books this week.

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