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Older love interests in YA: Creepy trend or human nature?

Posted by Selene Bell in Confessions of a Binge Reader, 30 July 2014 · 24 views

The vampire men of romance novels have always been older than the women they hook up with. (That’s true of other paranormal males, too, of course. Thea Harrison’s Dragos, for example, or Lora Leigh’s original breeds.) I don’t think many readers questioned it. Lots of women end up with older men in real life -- my husband is nine years older than I am. I think it’s a leftover instinct from our hunter-gatherer days or something. Women are often attracted to powerful men, talented men who know what they’re doing and who are financially stable. And it often seems a fact that men mature more slowly than women, thus women look to older men. Yes, that’s a ton of stereotypes I just threw out there (studies like
this one and this one support those ideas) and there are plenty of books where the love interests are the same age, and more and more books where the woman is older.

But when Twilight came out, and Edward was sneaking into Bella’s room to watch her sleep before she knew it, it kind of hit me (and scores of other readers) that this January-December romance might be a little squicky. (Not to diss that book. I liked it when I read it.) It seems in the years since that a bigger number of YAs or New Adult novels have paired teen girls with older men, often teachers. To name just a few, Pretty Little Liars, Slammed, the darker and less-well-read Captive in the Dark and Veiled Innocence (which was a nice turnaround of the girl being the aggressor). That’s not to get into the paranormals, such as The Vampire Academy books. Even with their leading lady who pushed boundaries, she still went for the traditional hero. (Which I’m not complaining about. Dmitri. Happy sigh.) The guys in these books are great. I’m not saying the girls shouldn’t have been all in.

But then there’s the side of life books don’t get into. Grocery shopping. Paying rent. Being so tired after work that all you want to do is come home and crash on the couch. The guy’s whiskers left all over the sink. Things that decidedly are not sexy. I mean, I crazy-ship Beth and Daryl in the TV version of The Walking Dead, despite their age difference. But in real life, if there was not a zombie apocalypse, Daryl wouldn’t be some heroic boyfriend for Beth who’d do things like remember her birthday, go to her performances or care about her friends. Of course, love makes squicky things, like watching you sleep, romantic.

I don’t know, I’m a huge believer in willing suspension of disbelief, and I’ve loved lots of older-man characters. (My WIP has a — I’ll say love possibility instead of love interest — who’s seven or eight years older than the seventeen-year-old MC. He’s a police officer.) But the biggest time this age difference doesn’t work for me is when the man’s the teacher. That’s a pairing that’s so imbalanced power-wise that I just can’t get behind it. Why? I’m not sure. I love it when bad-on-paper pairings work out. I like dark romances. But the person who is supposed to challenge you to learn new things and assign homework shouldn’t want something, especially sex, in exchange -- no matter how meeting-of-the-minds the connection is made out to be. He’s getting paid to teach you and he sees you every day in an environment in which the age difference — the life difference — is emphasized. It’s a time in which teen girls need to learn to relate to men in a nonsexual way, or they will always be seen and see themselves as a walking vagina first, and a smart, thoughtful person second. That’s the worst life lesson a girl can get. So I don’t find teachers sexy. In fact, teacher romances have become an immediate turn-off for me. Like books with surprise babies, they need warning labels.

Maybe the other part of why it doesn’t work for me is the tone of the books. I mean, I can read a book about a guy who kidnaps a woman and they fall in love, or a pair of lovers who kill someone together, or a guy who falls in love with the girl he bullies, and never blink. It’s the treatment. When you read a book that’s dark, you expect dark things to happen. When you read a book that sets out to include a sincere romance, dark things seem out of place.

And, I still think paranormals (and probably dystopians, too) exist in their own special place where age doesn’t matter. (Go Daryl and Beth!) Call me contradictory.


Wednesday Words: 18 Things

  Posted by DebsBlueRoses in The Writer Ambitious, 30 July 2014 · 11 views

Good morning! Every Wednesday, I will use Random.org to pick a page of the book I'm reading and a line or two and post it. I was still reading Talulla Rising last Wednesday, but I finished it (that book was AWESOOOOME!), so I'm about to start a book that's been in my Goodreads for 2 years (blush), 18 Things. Here is the blurb:

Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten.

Then, Conner is killed in a freak boating accident and Olga feels responsible for his death.

When she downs an entire bottle of pills to deal with the emotional pain, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled “18 Things”: eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday.

But there’s more to Olga’s quests than meets the eye and when her therapist reveals a terrifying secret, her world is shaken.

There’s only one thing she knows for certain: her choices won’t just affect her future, but all eternity.

And a big thank you to Jamie Ayres for sending me a copy!

Now, there are 246 pages to 18 Things, and I'm reading it on a Kindle with percentages...So let's see what happens. lol

Random.org has given me Page 198, which is 80.4% into the story.

And there are 17 lines on the 80% area where I stopped, so...Random.org gave me line 17!

"If I would've known your parents weren't home, I would've invited Mom and Dad in to take some pictures for us."

And now I'll force myself not to read everything around it just yet!



W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Christina Lee

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Chasing The Crazies , 30 July 2014 · 13 views

    I was lucky enough to meet today’s featured writer, Christina Lee, at the Romantic Time (RT) Convention in May of this year. What struck me most about Christina was her kindness (especially when I peppered her with all sorts of writing questions) but also her honesty in sharing the ups and downs of publishing. I […]



What is Sad Humor?

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 30 July 2014 · 6 views

I think this professor promised to do a post about Sad Humor.

It’s a wonder of a topic, in truth.

For…what is it?

Well…here’s some thoughts.

One, Sad Humor could be humor that’s sad in nature, but still makes one laugh. Maybe Pathetic Humor would be a better phrase for this type of Sad Humor.

Two, Sad Humor could be humor that is so low–so base–that it makes one cringe. “This,” you might say, “was horribly sad humor.” It’s just not funny, you see.

Three, Sad Humor could be humor that makes you sad after you hear it. Here’s an example: Suppose an ant is invading the professor’s home, and the professor crushes him in self-defense. This is funny at first, because the ant’s invasion failed so miserably. It’s ultimately sad, though, because the invasion didn’t bloom into a war. (Maybe not the best example.)

Four, Sad Humor could be something this professor just made up.

Punchy Family, I fear that I’m leaning towards the last one. Any thoughts on the matter?

Just a picture: A bunch of fish going to school.





  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 30 July 2014 · 11 views

So the other day I used the hashtag #amimagining. I have no idea if this is actually a thing, but it should be! There are tags for #amwriting and #amediting, even #amquerying. Why not a tag for the most important aspect of the whole writing process.

Without that time spent letting our minds roam, none of our creations would come to life. We need time to dream, time to plan. Letting our imagination run wild is the best way to fill our invented worlds with real details and make our characters larger than life. 

I don't know about you, but I often hold whole conversations in my head between multiple characters as though I were schizophrenic. Create flowery descriptions of places I've never seen. Or plot misery and suffering for my main character. Then I'll frantically text information not to be forgotten to myself or jot it down on scraps of paper pushed into drawers in my bedroom.

Background music is a necessity for me, though any sort of talking brings my #amimagining to a screeching halt. I can't work with the tv going or when my teens are chattering. For me, #amimagining requires solitude or at least silence from the other person.

The absolutely best time for me to plan a murder, kiss, or sword fight is while I'm getting ready in the morning. Then when I come downstairs, I can rush straight to writing--if I'm lucky. If I can stay awake, the time before sleep is also great for #amimagining. Taking the dogs for a long walk is the perfect place to work out plot problems. And vacuuming is not only relaxing and useful, but fantastically creative!

So let's have a conversation about the wonders of #amimagining. What are your requirements? Where do you get your best thinking done? Shout out about it on twitter and in the comments. Let's see if we can't get this hashtag trending!    



But the music is still new

Posted by cifulchae1499 in cifulchae1499's Blog, 29 July 2014 · 11 views

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Posted by cifulchae1498 in cifulchae1498's Blog, 29 July 2014 · 8 views

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Posted by cifulchae1497 in cifulchae1497's Blog, 29 July 2014 · 8 views

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Posted by cifulchae1496 in cifulchae1496's Blog, 29 July 2014 · 8 views

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But still followed the family has one thousand

Posted by cifulchae1495 in cifulchae1495's Blog, 29 July 2014 · 14 views

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But there are different points of view

Posted by cifulchae1494 in cifulchae1494's Blog, 29 July 2014 · 7 views

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Posted by cifulchae1493 in cifulchae1493's Blog, 29 July 2014 · 8 views

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But he seems simply thought that

Posted by cifulchae1491 in cifulchae1491's Blog, 29 July 2014 · 7 views

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But the details of the play it is actually not much applauded

Posted by cifulchae1490 in cifulchae1490's Blog, 29 July 2014 · 8 views

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Judgement is still in the hands of God

Posted by lephcountpsych5801 in lephcountpsych5801's Blog, 29 July 2014 · 9 views

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Insiders are prohibited from trading based on non public information

Posted by lephcountpsych5800 in lephcountpsych5800's Blog, 29 July 2014 · 4 views

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Blog Ring of Power Interview — Matthew Cox and his new book, CALLER 107

  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 29 July 2014 · 6 views

Today I welcome back speculative fiction author Matthew Cox. Matt has been featured on the Blog Ring of Power before, but he has a new book out, so welcome him again! Also, the Blog Ring of Power is happy to be part of the official blog tour for Matt’s new book, CALLER 107! You can find the other […]



Successful Author Talk With S.L. Duncan

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 29 July 2014 · 3 views

Today's guest for the SAT (Successful Author Talk) is an old writing friend, SL Duncan. He's a writer and traveler seeking stories from inspired locations - a connection of prose to place. The first book of his YA book series, <a href="https://www.goodread...pate.&nbsp;</i>



I write letters

  Posted by dclabs in dan.croutch.ca, 28 July 2014 · 9 views

Letters are a bit of an old fashioned thing.  No, this isn’t a blog nostalgia-ing about sending things through the post.  Nor is this a blog about my recent spam of letters, both physical and virtual, which have been raining down on unsuspecting literary agents in New York.  While writing query letters has consumed some of my time lately, that’s not what this is about.

No, this is a story about being too stubborn to not ask.

I write letters.  That fact has been established by the title.  I’ve been writing letters since I was a teenager.  For those keeping tally that’s at least ten years ago.  People on the receiving end are all executives or senior leaders in companies which you no doubt have heard of.

My first letter was to Chrysler, back when they were an American publicly traded company and bankruptcy was a thing only crappy companies did.  I was an aspiring automotive engineer in grade 9 with dreams of someday designing computer systems for automobiles (way to go on that, Dan).  During class, when I was supposed to be listening and learning, I had designed two cars that I really believed were super.  The first was a redesign for the Dodge Charger.  Chargers were a huge favourite of mine; particularly the 1969 Hemi.  You have to realize that at this point in time there was no Dodge Charger, none was even on the horizon.  I was a bit surprised when they announced they were relaunching the Charger in 2005.  Their design did not resemble mine in anyway, which is probably a good thing.  My second car on submission to them was a completely new sports car called the “Clipper”.  Being the weather geek that I am, I took my inspiration from the name for weather systems that often whip across the prairies.  Powerful and speedy, I figured it was perfect for a sports car.  This car, too, never saw the light of day.  What I did get, however, was a very nice letter from then CEO.  Still being young enough for it to be considered “cute” he actually responded.

He didn’t know the effect it had on me.

My letter to Chrysler was shortly followed with one, written in tandem with my good friend Nick, to the CEO of Porsche.  I figured since the Chrysler CEO had written me, perhaps the Porsche CEO would too.  Our letter was all business.  We wanted Porsche to move a factory to our city of Cambridge, Ontairo.  We created a list detailing why the city was a great choice for the company, the German heritage of our area and Toyota’s success.  Sadly, nothing came of that letter.  In fact, with the exception of a few auto-replies or tersely short “thank yous” from customer service reps, my letters went without response.  Yet, I continued to write.  Among those who received my crazy letters were:

  • Porsche again(a complaint about treatment at the auto show)
  • Audi
  • Christophorus Magazine (official Porsche magazine)
  • Sea Ray yachts
  • Neptunus Yachts (a letter that resulted in a guided plant tour)
  • Volvo
  • Brunswick Corporation (parent company for Sea Ray and Hatteras Yachts)
  • Prime Minister of Canada
  • Bungie Corporation (see below)
  • Audi Canada (again, including a local dealership)
  • Daniel Ratcliff and Emma Watson
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Tesla Motors

The list grows, it seems, by the year.  I’m sure there are lots I’ve omitted as well.  Many of these entries are recent by the way.  In fact, I wrote to Elon Musk of Tesla a mere ten days ago (response pending).  There are many bold highlights to the letters I’ve written.  My letter to Bungie, for example, was less a letter and more a 2kg tin of Tim Horton’s coffee.  I had sent it for the Canadian members of their staff, also known as the “Cananimators”.  I had email by then and, to my surprise, I received one of the best responses, via email, to date; they told me the tin was promptly confiscated by the Canucks and under close lock and key.  I wrote to Audi and the local dealership in hopes of getting a white Q7 to surprise my wife with for our anniversary – our first if I recall.  So bold as to ask for it outright as a gift, or at the very least a week loaner.  Letters to the Harry Potter stars were for autographs for my sister (which never came).  Recent letters to Ford were for some money they have in a Bank of Canada account unclaimed – I figured they wanted their quarter of a million back.  My letter to Tesla and it’s contents will remain secret, for now.

So, by this point you have one of two thoughts; “dude, you’re crazy” or “wow, this is kinda awesome”.  A word that comes to mind in both cases is probably “why?”

I’ll be honest here; every single letter was written with the intent, whether subliminal or outright, to gain something.  In the case of my car designs it was fame and fortune as a car designer (ah young ignorance).  My letter to Bungie was in hopes of a coveted studio tour and free copies of their Halo game.  Letters to celebrities were for obvious gains.  Knowing that, it still begs the question “why?”  Why even bother if they’re not going to respond?  Why write just to ask for something?  Why waste their time like that?  I would submit that there are some great life lessons in my letter writing, simple mottos that drive my stubborn pursuit of the silly and unrealistic dreams.

Be respectfully bold

Just go for it really.  Many people who are in places of senior management like boldness.  Letters written respectfully, properly and with few words gain more attention than you might think.  Most of all, however, boldness gets noticed.  Sure, nine times out of ten it results in nothing.  However, any result in your favour is a plus.  We aren’t rewarded for the risks we don’t take.

The worst they can say is no (or nothing)

There’s an expression that you often hear; “nothing gained, nothing lost”.  This view is the lens through which I look at a lot of things, particularly when reaching out or chasing crazy ideas.  What’s the worst response you can get when you ask?  (Hint: it’s no)  If and when you get a no, has it cost you anything?  Not really, no.  In fact, you’re the same after writing (or asking) as you were before – nothing gained, nothing lost.  But, in the rare moments when that 1 in 10 does respond to the positive, maybe even one in one hundred, you’re officially better off after than you were before.  Suddenly you’ve gained everything with nothing lost.  The worst they can say is no, the best they can say is yes.

You (or they) don’t know until you ask

What if someone has a spare car they don’t know where to send?  A chunk of money they need to write off?  Some great stuff to give away?  Their company is sitting on a potential breakthrough technology?  Truth is, we simply can’t know.  While 98% of the time the answer to every scenario is no, moments exist where it could be yes.  There could be, no I maintain there are, troves of things out there ready for those who have the boldness to make their needs known.  For those who’re willing to simply ask.

Now, where did I put my letter signing pen?  I have companies/people to write to.



Manga Review: Voice Over! Seiyu Academy Vol. #05

  Posted by Sakura Eries in Sakura Eries' Blog: Keeping It In Canon …mostly, 28 July 2014 · 15 views

For hard core manga and anime fans, the voice acting world has the same kind of glamor and mystique as Hollywood. So it’s no surprise that the world of Maki Minami’s manga Voice Over! Seiyu Academy portrays it as such. Viz Media has just released Volume 5 of the series and you can read on for the review. (To see previous reviews of the series, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Hime’s producer Yamada has decided to let her have some time off for good behavior, so he sets up a trip to a lake for her and the rest of the Stragglers. But will Hime ruin the vacation when her idea of a fun time turns out to be a bust?!

The Review

Hime’s school life and the Stragglers have been scarce the last several chapters. As if to remind us of their existence, Volume 5 kicks off with Hime taking a lakeside getaway with Tsukino, Sho, Mitchy, and – surprisingly – Ume. The premise for their vacation is weak, and because it is a single chapter one-shot, their 29-stamp rally has a rushed feel to it. However, this story is probably the closest this series will have to a summer vacation arc.

The manga then continues by introducing a rivalry. No, not for Hime. She lives up too much to her super-amateur/super-noob nickname to inspire anyone to challenge her. This rivalry is between Mizuki and his costar on the Four Gods Squad anime, Toru Fujimori.

Actually, the rivalry is more of a one-sided grudge. For Toru’s entire career, his success has been overshadowed by AQUA’s popularity, thus earning him the handle of Mr. Shade. As such, he is obsessed with beating Mizuki, but all his efforts to steal the spotlight wind up backfiring – badly. Mizuki, for his part, doesn’t care. That is, until Hime/Shiro gets involved.

For someone who is supposed to be a professional with a lead role, Toru’s attempts to outshine Mizuki are amateurish – as in Hime-amateurish. Not surprisingly, she sees in Toru a kindred spirit. The production then devolves to the level of a middle school play when Toru can’t get past his personal feelings to deliver his lines. Of course, Hime is compelled to help in Lovely Blazer fashion, but that only serves to irritate Mizuki, causing him to stoop to their level of immaturity. When this arc finally concludes, I can only wonder why they haven’t all gotten fired.

Lots of extras including embedded author’s remarks, translation notes, and four bonus mini-manga.

In Summary

Only a brief glimpse of the Stragglers and nothing at all of Holly Academy in Volume 5. Voice Over! continues to focus on Hime’s career and the other actors on the Four Gods Squad anime. But the amateurish flavor in Minami-sensei’s depiction of the voice acting world unfortunately also continues, making the professionals in the entertainment industry look anything but.

First published at the Fandom Post.


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