Took my Neo to the beach yesterday! What fun. I didn’t get a whole lot written on it, mostly because I kept having trouble with the scene–where to begin it, what to put in, etc. Sometimes, even when you GMC a scene out, you can still have a heck of a time with getting it right. 🙁

I love the Neo, however. It’s so slim, slimmer than the AS3000. It’s cute, and efficient. Even though I had trouble with the scene, hubby didn’t know it. All he saw was me sitting there tapping away. 🙂 Good thing since he won’t think it was a wasted purchase. He is a real techno geek and he always wants new toys. I tease him because he ends up not using something for very long, or something new comes out and he wants that instead, so how can he pass up an opportunity to tease me about a toy? But, I am using my toy and determined to prove it was a good buy. 🙂

Reading Cara Summers’s The Dare. Very enjoyable so far. I really like the heroine, and I love the way she thinks of the hero as her very own Terminator. I get a great visual on him every time he appears in a scene simply from that word. The suspense plot is set up very well and I have no idea who the bad person is yet. Also reading The Frog Prince by Aloha Chapter member Jane Porter. I am the sort of person who reads several books at once. Don’t know why, since it wasn’t always this way, but I think it has a lot to do with my academic work. I never read reference books or literature straight through–I always read part of one, part of another, etc. I think I learned this in my history classes. History was my minor, English my major. The only way we got through those huge and boring history tomes was by reading a chunk here and there. I think this is why I read in chunks now. It’s not boredom (sometimes it is, sure) but just that I want to read so many books I figure I’m slightly ahead of the game if I read two or three at a time.

One of my pet peeves, come to think of it, is romance writers who don’t read romance. Usually, these are unpublished writers, but I have from time to time seen a website where a published romance author’s reading list won’t have one single romance on it ever. How can you (pub or unpub) promote the genre, or claim you want it respected, if you don’t read it? If you write romance but don’t read it, I believe it’s tantamount to saying you don’t respect the genre or your fellow writers. Sound harsh? Maybe, but I’m convinced that it sends a message, even if you don’t intend that message. If you say you’re writing for Harlequin or targetting Harlequin, and then your reading list popped up there for all to see is stuff like Slaughterhouse Five, To the Lighthouse, The Sound and the Fury, The Lovely Bones, The Secret Life of Bees, and The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume II–then, honey, your message is all wrong.

My reading list is varied for sure. And when you click on my profile, you’re gonna see a whole lot of literary novels for favs. But then you also see the fact I grouped romance into one category of novels I love. I could name a few, sure, but the truth is I am always excited about discovering new stories and so I don’t want to name particular books in my profile. I want to say romance novels are among my favorite reads because I am always finding new books that trip my trigger. But, there is only one To the Lighthouse and yes, that is one of my favorite books of all time. I can’t explain it, except to say I had one of those epiphany moments while reading the dinner scene that changed the way I thought about writing and stories forever. And I’m currently working (or supposed to be) on my master’s thesis, which is about Virginia Woolf, so I do read stuff like Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. But it’s not all I read, thank the good Lord. I’d tear my hair out if it was.

Romance is my unapologetic favorite type of story to read. I love the dynamic of two people falling in love. I don’t think it’s cheap or tacky or trash. I’ve read bad romances (and bad fill-in-the-blank genre books too) and I’ve read some that just lift me up and make me feel so good inside. If good literature is about moving people, about making them understand or question or experience the human condition in different ways, then I’ve got some romance novels I’d like to nominate for good literature candidates. I write because I want to write like that; I’m not daring enough to suggest I am succeeding at writing that type of story, but it’s my goal.

This is just my opinion, of course. I suppose someone could say she can’t read romance while writing it because she’s afraid of subconsciously copying something, but I still think the majority of romance writers who don’t read romance are doing themselves and the genre a disservice, even if unintentionally.

To prove I got my money where my mouth is, here are a few favorites that pop to mind: Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, The Charm School by Susan Wiggs, Simply Irresistible by Rachel Gibson, The Prince of Midnight by Laura Kinsale, Beyond Sunrise by Candace Proctor, Until You by Judith McNaught, As You Desire by Connie Brockway, Time Without End by Linda Lael Miller, The Older Woman by Cheryl Reavis. I could think of more, but that’s what popped to mind very quickly. It’s heavy on historicals, because I used to love and want to write historicals. I still love a good historical, but it seems like that ship is foundering right now. I think it’ll cycle back (I hope) and I’ll be there when it does. I don’t currently want to write them, however. When I finally found my voice, I discovered it was too contemporary for the medieval I’d (long ago) flogged around NY. Ah well. The last book on that list is a category novel, and boy is it good. Cheryl Reavis is amazing. She never left the hero’s POV (it’s been a couple of years, but I’m pretty sure I’m right), and it worked. Wonderful characterization.

Okay, now I’m feeling inspired so I better get busy and see if I can write my own contemporary romantic literature novel. Aloha.