Book Review: Her Viken Mates

Book: Her Viken Mates

Author: Grace Goodwin

Viken

This is not my normal reading fare, as you may have noticed from my other book reviews. I am not entirely sure why I picked it up.

Okay, that’s not true. I do know. It was curiosity, plain and simple. It appeared in my Amazon feed, and while I was intrigued, but didn’t buy it. The book then intruded on my consciousnesses during my drive home, and as I had some digital credit with Amazon, I decided to give in to temptation and see what it was all about.

 

Characters

These are flat, one dimensional characters. Expect no growth because you’re not going to get any.

 

Plot

There was one. Somewhere. But it’s even less important than most other romance novels I’ve read. The plot is as one dimensional as the characters, and I’m actually somewhat surprised how contrived it was. I was shocked how quickly characters believed a heroine from another planet who was there as an interstellar bride. There is no real reason for them to do that. Nor is there a reason that the villain would do what they did or give their hand away as they did. But, you know, plot wasn’t what this book was about.

 

Steamy Scenes

This is why you’re reading the book. The novel opens with steamy scenes, and the steamy bits probably take up at least 50% of the story, maybe more. It does include multiple lovers simultaneously, and I have never read anything like it, though I know this is not uncommon in romance. Just uncommon to me. As far as I can tell, the author handled it well.

 

Writing Style

While the writing was just okay, it was relatively free of grammatical and punctuation errors. It was also properly formatted to the Kindle. When she did a jump in PoV, which she did often, she used a new chapter and labeled the chapter with the person whose eyes you were now seeing through.

 

Themes

Despite the fact that this was really just an excuse for steamy scenes, there were some pretty interesting themes running through a book that was mostly steamy scenes. Issues of trust came up time and again, but more than just trust, it was also about consent. This played throughout the book. I was pleasantly surprised by this. There was never even a hint of rape culture in the book, and while rushed, it did let the heroine explore her sexuality without guilt. Rather, her mates encouraged her to explore it.

 

 

 

I Hate Trilogies and Here’s Why

I hate trilogies. I know, many of you will disagree with me and point me to epics like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

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But I digress.

Well, Tolkien actually intended that to be a single book that publishers thought was too long for the audience of the time. So, they chopped it into three. Which, explains a lot, especially for those of us that saw the movies before we read the books and were quite angry at the end of the first movie when Frodo still had the blasted ring. After how ever many hours. With no bathroom break.

But that’s a story for another time.

No, my hatred of trilogies goes back to my childhood. I’d read a book called The Dark Angel.  Yeah, this story sticks in my head so much I remember the name even many decades later.

Darkangel
Art didn’t look anything like this back in the 80s when I read it.

I was so in love with this book, that I got my mom to take me to the library and snapped up the second book in the series, A Gathering of Gargoyles. What I didn’t know or understand at the time is what a trilogy was. But I was about to find out.

After devouring the second book as well, and I was totally rooting for the heroine and the hero to finally get together. To get their happily-ever-after. Yeah, I was a romance reader from the beginning. I’d been raised on Disney, and I had certain expectations even though I read these long before the Little Mermaid made its debut.

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I had no idea why Ariel wanted to be human when I so desperately wanted to be a mermaid.

So, I got to the end of the second book, and I wanted the third book. I begged my mom to take me to the library. After a bit of wrangling, she finally agreed. But the library didn’t have the third book. I lived in a small town with a small library. So I begged, whined and wheedled to get my parents to take me to the big library in the city that allowed me to borrow from them through a library exchange program. This was long before Amazon, and my family had to be frugal. No point buying what we could borrow.

Finally, my parents agreed to take me to the big the library the next day. I wasn’t happy, but if we went early enough, I’d have the book and still be able to finish it before school on Monday.

We got to the library when thy first opened the next day, but I couldn’t find the third book. I searched and searched. I couldn’t even find it in the card catalog. Yeah, I’m old. I not only know what one of these is, but I knew how to use them.

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Yup, like this.

Finally, I ask the librarian. She says if they don’t have the book, they could probably get it from the even bigger library system in the city of Milwaukee. It would only take a week or so.

A week!!

To my elementary school brain, that was forever. But I really wanted the book. So, she went to look it up and see if Milwaukee had it.

She comes back, but she isn’t holding the library hold slip. My heart thumps. Then she asks if I’m sure the book exists.

With the indignation of a elementary school child, I show her the three titles on the back of the current book. She checks again, and after some time (during which my parents and little sister are getting antsier and antsier), the librarian comes back to tell me the book hasn’t been published yet. There’s no release date on it, so it’s at least a year or two off.

 

I was devastated. How could I leave these characters not know what happened to them? I loved them, I wanted them to get together and be happy.

I cried on the way home, further angering my parents.

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About like this.

While I didn’t get it then, as a parent now, I totally understand their frustration. They did something to make me happy, something that was a pain for them, and it backfired. I was the exact opposite of happy.

Eventually, my tears dried, and being the precocious child I was, I wrote the author. I told her I loved her books and was wondering when the next one in the trilogy would be out as I had to know what happened next.

Kindly enough, she wrote me back and said she was still writing it. She also sent me an autographed hardcover(!) copy of another of her books, Birth of the Firebringer.

firebringer
It was the 80s. Don’t judge.

We were very frugal, and hardcover books were not in the budget. I was beyond excited to actually have a hardcover book, all my own, signed by the author.

But I only read it once.

See, I’d already suffered the pain of not being able to complete a trilogy. So, the very first thing I did was check and see if there were more books in this series. There were. Not all of them were out.

So, I put it in the cupboard above my bed. And there is sat for years. Every once in a while I’d check to see if all of the books in the series were out. See if it was time to read them. I continued to look for the third book in the Dark Angel series.

Eventually, all of the Firebringer books were out. So was the Dark Angel book. But I was five years older. Five years for a kid is a really long time. I was now in junior high. Reading Terry Brooks, Shakespeare, and Victoria Holt. I’d outgrown these books.

I did finally read the last Dark Angel book and hated it. This is a spoiler, but it came out almost three decades ago, so I’m going to let slip that the trilogy didn’t have a happy ending. Victoria Holt had already spoiled me. I expected more.

I did read Firebringer, but I never bothered to even look for the other two books in the trilogy. I had already moved on.

But these lessons stuck with me. To this day, I will not read a series until it’s complete. I want to know I’m going to get an ending.

 

How about you? Do you love trilogies? Hate them? What was your first experience with one?

 

Where Did You Come From?

A bit of a story snippet that came to me when I was on my way to work. I didn’t stop to write it down, but I did remember it all the way home where I did write it down. Wondering if this is the beginning of a new story.

 

Alex rocked back in his expensive leather chair, the scatter of papers across his desk not enough to hold his attention. Numbers scrawled across the sheets, thousands of them, but Alex knew what they said. Already knew how to turn a profit for himself and his investors on this venture.

Boredom nipped the edges of his thoughts.

He pushed himself out of his chair and stomped toward the door. He knew where boredom led, had followed it there before, and it never brought anything good.

Who is Alex? What are his hopes and fears? More importantly, what trouble has boredom gotten him into in the past? How is he going to escape it?

Is he the hero or the antagonist?

So many more questions than answers!

If this inspires a story for you, please drop me a link to it in the comments.

This popped into my head while I was in the car, and it had enough importance to my brain that I actually remembered it all the way home so I could write it down. Car time and shower time are the two places my brain does most of its thinking. Helping me resolve plot holes in a story, giving me new ideas, or helping me solve world hunger.

Most of them I forget by the time I get to a place that I could write them down.

Looks like this story really wants to be written. Or at least considered.

Have you ever had thoughts come to you in the car? Or maybe the shower? Maybe they were the solutions to problems at work or home? New characters? A new story? Maybe you’re reading something and you suddenly solve the central mystery?

Book Review: Nothing Like a Duke

BookNothing Like a Duke

Author: Jane Ashford

Status: Don’t bother.

This book was one in a series. It may have been better if I’d read the rest of the series, but I doubt it.

NothingLikeADuke

Premise: I’m sure there is a premise… Woman goes to a house party and the man she loves happens to be there, but she didn’t know he’d be there, and he didn’t know she’d be there. Yeah, I’m still not sure what the story was supposed to be about, and I read the book.

Plot: I couldn’t find one. The hero goes to a house party to forget the heroine for reasons. Didn’t read the other books, so I don’t know why. Heroine goes to the same house party for reasons. I never really figured out why she went. It’s not clear other than she wanted to see the ton, but why she does must’ve been in another book.

While nothing in this book was deep, the part that was very disturbing to me was the way the author treated PTSD. I don’t think she did any research on it, or if she did, it was very superficial.

  • The heroine was apparently captured, tied up, and helpless at one point in an earlier book.
  • We’re told this is a big deal toward the end of the book. We’re never shown her nightmares, her fear of men, her fear of being in tight places (which happens). Even her being caught in a brier bush is told to us from the hero rather than a very deep and dramatic scene for the heroine.
  • The “cure” for this was for her to be attempted to be raped by another man and for the heroine to escape on her own.

I know very little about PTSD. Maybe this would work, or maybe it would deepen her fears. I don’t know. But the way it was handled was not believable to me.

Romance: The hero, Robert, already loves the heroine, Flora, from another book. Flora also loves Robert and has no real reason not to want the romance to happen. I’m not sure why this book wasn’t over in less than 50 pages rather than the 352 it took.

Steamy Scenes: There were none. Not one. So this isn’t where the filler came from to get to the 352 pages.

Imagery: Nothing was ever really brought alive for me. Nothing felt sumptuous or beautiful. So, this isn’t what filled the 352 pages, either.

Characters: There is no character development. Robert starts out as Robert and ends as Robert. We’re told he’s celebrated by the ton, what all gentleman aspire to be. Perhaps we were *shown* that in previous books, but not this one.

Flora learns all people in the ton are people rather than caricatures, but that’s really not a lot of growth, either. We’re told Flora is smart so freaking many times I was ready to scream. And she’s beautiful. And she’s smart. And she’s charitable. And she’s smart.

One of the things I hated most about this book is that so much of it focused on a rivalry between the heroine and another female character over the hero. It started to boarder on the absurd, and frankly, I am tired of the trope. I prefer to see female friendships rather than competition over a man. It was such a blatant competition, the one woman literally called the other her competitor. Yuck.

 

All in, I’d rather do the dishes or vacuum than read this novel a second time.

Book Review: Mine Till Midnight

Title: Mine Till Midnight

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Status: Worth a Read

Mine

 

I listened to this as an audiobook rather than read it. I am still pretty new to listening to books, but I am starting to really like it. The experience is different, and while I still prefer to read rather than listen to books, this is a great way to get some “reading” in while doing boring tasks like cleaning the kitchen or weeding.

 

Summary: After the death of their parents, four sisters are dependent on their older brother who has a promising future as an architect. When the brother loses the woman he loves to scarlet fever, he becomes a self-destructive boar. This is compounded when the deaths of three distant family members drop a “cursed” title and admission to the peerage on this brother.  The story centers around the oldest sister, Amelia. She’s forgone marriage herself to see to her family, keep them together, and keep them safe. She encounters Rohan, the hero of the story, while rescuing her brother from a gaming club.

Plot: Plot is pretty sparse. It’s basically getting Amelia and Rohan together as she deals with the trials of her family. With a suicidal brother, a sister with weak lungs from her bought with scarlet fever, to a kleptomaniac sister, Amelia has her hands full. The fact that the estates that came with the title are falling apart, literally, doesn’t help. There’s enough going to keep the story moving forward and keep Amelia and Rohan together without feeling contrived. I don’t expect more, so this was fine with me.

Romance: It’s pretty standard that he falls in love with her, then must convince her that she wants to give up her independence to be his bride. He has a few issues along the way coming to terms with his feelings, giving up his own freedom as he feels tied down by her world, but he comes to terms with them. No real spoiler here as this is a romance novel, but he gets her to agree to marry him by the end of the book. Some of her objections in the last quarter of the book become annoying, and this was one of the only part that had me rolling my eyes.

Characters: Rohan is half gypsy, so this is a unique spin on any romance novel I’ve ever read. I can tell the author did research on the gypsy people of the time. Or if she didn’t, she faked it exceedingly well. Possibly helped by the fact that none of my history classes even touched on them. War of the Roses? Oh yes. Roma people? Not at all.

Rohan is your typical physically powerful very rich male lead. But the fact that he’s an outcast for his mixed heritage adds a different flavor.

Amelia is your standard pretty spinster heroine who has put independence and siblings first. If you’ve ever dealt with difficult or unruly children, you’ll feel for her. She has personality, but not nearly as interesting as Rohan.

One thing I loved about this book was that woman are shown as friends. The Countess of Westcliff is kind and understanding. As is Lady St. Augustine. So many authors, far too many, in my opinion, show other women as rivals. They discard all notions of female friendship and focus on a very unhealthy rivalry. Always over a man. This author did NOT do that, and I very much appreciated it.

The sisters were kind and snarky to each other, as sisters will be.

Steamy Scenes: These are quite good. Very good. Some worth rereading. This is one of the author’s big strengths.

Use of Imagery: This is amazing. Her descriptive prowess is excellent, and she does it succinctly using terrific metaphors and similes I don’t usually here. She makes things feel sumptuous and sensual. This is a huge strength for this author.

 

All in, this is a good read from an author I had written off after not being able to get through more than a chapter or two of another one of her books. Makes a case for giving an author a second chance. And I never would have if I hadn’t been able to get her audiobooks from the library.

One Month

I’ve made it through one month of strength training.

Eleven sessions in four weeks. Not quite the three per week that is ideal, but not bad either. It’s a start to rebuilding the bone I lost when I had my little ones.

But now to stick with it.

See, I hate strength training. I don’t like the feel of heavy weights in my hands. I don’t enjoy the feel of a bar across my back or the burn in my legs as I squat. I just don’t.

gym1

I hear “do something you love” all the time. I get that I’m much more likely to stick with an exercise I love.

Sadly, that’s not easy either. See,  I don’t love much exercise. Reading. Yup. Writing. Mostly. You’ll notice neither of those are exactly physical activities.

I loved tennis in my youth. There was something about chasing the little fuzzy ball that kept me entertained. I’d spend hours hitting the ball against a backboard to force my backhand to improve. I even found lighted courts so I could play at night.

gym2

I learned to ignore the bats that came out to eat the bugs the lighted courts drew. I found ways to practice even in the winter. I loved the sport.

But, in my very early twenties, I learned I had a genetically bad back. The twisting motion from tennis was aggravating it, and I had to stop.

So I did.

Was years before I took up walking with my husband. We started small, but soon, we were traipsing around the neighborhood. Everyone knew us as “that couple we see walking”.

We’d literally walk for an hour or two every night after work. We’d talk about our day, hopes, wishes, dreams. Then, we started playing an RPG, and we started talking about characters.

That’s when the walks got really long.

We loved making characters. Seeing what they would do in different scenarios. It was a fabulously creative way to spend the evenings. We both dabbled with our writing, but neither of us had really taken it seriously at that point. After all, I was finishing graduate school while working full time, and after that, we were planning to start a family.

And start a family we did.

Complications in the pregnancy made us give up walking, but eventually, we had an amazing little one.

We just didn’t realize we’d never be able to have a grown-up conversation again. At least not while she was awake.

Once we were able to take walks again, talking about anything that did not directly involve her was impossible. She started talking at 11 months, and hasn’t stopped since.

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We bought and elliptical machine and treadmill and plopped them in front of a 60 inch TV. We thought we could watch a movie or catch up on a few shows while we worked out.

You already know how that went for us. DD1 was not tolerating being left upstairs while one of us went to the basement. Sure, we could’ve ignored her tears, but I get two hours with her a day. Less, if you include that part of that time I’m making dinner.

Gotta say, Sesame Street and My Little Ponies are NOT conducive to a strong workout. Even with an audio book playing, I still can’t concentrate on it with the sound and motion.

gym4

For me, working out consistently for a month is an accomplishment. May not be for most other people. But I’m not them. I’m me. I have to compare me to me. And, I’m giving myself kudos for making it a month.

If I make it another month, I’m rewarding myself with a massage. I may not like exercise, but I can like the rewards that come with it.

 

How about you? Do you love exercise? Hate it? Find it boring? How do you motivate yourself to do it, especially if it’s not one of your favorite things? Any treats you give yourself, or maybe something else?

The Power of Stretch Goals to Help You Fail

Most of us who have spent any time in corporate America are familiar with SMART goals. Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time-Based.

 

goals1
Or to look at them and laugh while you pour yourself a glass of wine

Nanowrimo meets all of these, and many of us writers have adopt this as our goal at least once a year during Nanowrimo.

For those not familiar, Nanowrimo is the month of November and writers strive to write fifty-thousand words in thirty days. There are support groups to help us get there. Most writers ask spouses to help out with more around the house during the month. I’ve even heard of people pre-making suppers for a month so they can focus on writing.

But what about the other eleven months of the year? In Nanowrimo what we should all be striving for? Isn’t the purpose of the month to show us the pace of a professional writer?

Before we all take up the fifty-thousand words a month goal, here are seven reasons why stretch goals can sometimes make you fail:

  1. You don’t consider your resources –  How many hours a day do you actually have to write? If we assume you sleep seven hours a night, that leaves seventeen hours. Most of us have day jobs, that include a commute. That leaves seven hours. Still, sounds like a lot. Until you remember those seven hours also include exercising, helping the kids with their homework, making dinner, showering, spending time with your spouse, etc. Maybe an hour a day is still realistic, maybe it isn’t. But it’s something to think about.

 

  1. Focused on Short Term – You might set a short term goal, like Nanowrimo, but what is the cost of achieving the goal? How is your family going to respond to mac & cheese every night (my toddler excluded)? Once you’ve gone down this route, how long does it take to rebuild support from your spouse? The last thing you want is your cheering section at home to become another obstacle you face. Don’t believe me? Imagine if one of your co-workers came to you and said they were taking on a special project, and as such, you’d be expected to stay and work unpaid overtime for the next month.

 

  1. Focus Exclusively on the Goal –   If you focus exclusively on word count, you can miss other areas that are import. Like editing. Plotting. Character development. Spending a little bit of time on the front end can really help with the story and make the rewriting process a little less painful. And, if the goal is word count, how do you judge editing? Particularly when editing can involve negative word count? Yet, editing is such a vital process of writing.

 

  1. Goal Impresses Rather than Guides –  I’ve seen people like this. “I’m going to do 100 push-ups” is a great goal. But, you don’t go from spending your days playing Mario Kart to doing 100 push-ups. You need a plan with smaller goals. I’ve seen writers sometimes do this, too. The person who is going to punch out as many words a day as Stephen King. Again, maybe that is the ultimate goal, but you’ve got some work to do before you get there. Giving yourself these leads into the next issue.

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  1. Failing can be Excusable – When you set unrealistic goals, it’s easy to excuse not meeting them because, well, they weren’t all that achievable. They were a stretch goal, and you weren’t able to stretch that much.

 

  1. Failing becomes Accepted – Once you can be excused for not reaching the goal, failing becomes acceptable. How many people fail Nanowrimo and are totally fine with it?

 

goals3
All of our bosses have set one of these.
  1. Failing becomes Expected – Once failure becomes expected, well, you don’t really have a goal anymore, do you? I know I’ve seen this in corporate America, in myself, and in other writers.

So, while goal-setting has a lot of positive effects, it has some dark sides that people don’t always consider.

It gets back to the “attainable” part of SMART goals. Not attainable only when the planets align, but attainable on most days if we push for it.

So, perhaps not the Nanowrimo sprint, but maybe a five-hundred words per day marathon. Yes, it’s going to take 3.5 months to get the same 50,000 words, but perhaps that’s a habit you can maintain without your spouse threatening to throw your computer in the front lawn.

 

How about you? Have you ever found goal-setting to be de-motivating? Or maybe you’re just the opposite and goal setting really inspires you. How do you set your goals? How do you measure success?

Book Review: To Charm a Naughty Countess

Book: To Charm a Naughty Countess

Author: Theresa Romain

Recommendation: Skip It

NaughtyCountess

Premise: A duke who is deep in debt due to his father’s indulgences needs a wealthy bride to save his lands when creditors come calling. He offers one of the most exalted titles in the land in return for a rich dowry. A rich widowed countess offers to help him. It just so happens that these two are still in love with each other even after the happenings of eleven years ago.

Plot:  Wait, there is one? Oh yes, they love each other. She’s rich. He’s titled. And…it takes a whole book for them to admit to each other their feelings. Yeah, there’s some filler as to why they can’t. Frankly, I started skimming sections looking for the plot. There was none. No murder that needed solving, no werewolves skulking around, not even a previous jilted love interest. Literally, just the two of them getting around to admitting their feelings. For the whole book.

Characters: I didn’t really see any character development on either the hero or heroine’s part. They do eventually get around to admitting to themselves and each other their feelings, but there’s no real driving factor to this.

Romance: The characters were in love with each other at the beginning of the story, though they didn’t yet know it. Or they knew it and wouldn’t admit it. This was fine, but as this was the entire story with no other plot to back it up, it felt thinner than it otherwise would have.

Steamy Scenes: There were two in the whole book. One about half way through, the other at the end. They were good, not enough to save the book, but good.

 

Overall, not a terrible read, but not one I’d recommend either. With all of the romance novels out there, you can find one with more of a plot, or more steamy bits to keep you engaged.

Soul Mates?

Soul mates. The person that completes you, that is your other half. This person is more than true love. This is the person that literally shares a piece of your soul.

You’re drawn together even if you hate each other. Your souls will find a way to reunite…

Sorry, I don’t buy it.

If, for some chance you do have one true soul mate, how are you going to find them among the over seven billion people in this world?

soulmate1

I suppose you could say the halves of the soul are somehow attracted to each other, but what are the chances you’ll speak the same language? Have been brought up in the same culture?

I’m a romance writer, and I read a lot of the genre. While I’ve seen soul mates used a lot, it almost never explained how it works. Was a soul ripped in half so each character only has half a soul (might explain a few people I know)? Are they like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle? Or maybe mirror images of each other?

I can’t think of a single time an author used soul mates and I didn’t think they were mailing it in by relying on this to bring togtether characters that had no other reason to be together.

It’s like the author chased the characters up a tree, and then along came a handy-dandy zeppelin to get them down.

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Hi!  I just happened to be in the area.

Given my preferences, if I read that the main characters are soul mates in the book blurb, I don’t buy it. If I find it out they’re soul mates later in the story itself, I tend not to finish the book as I usually can’t stop rolling my eyes. After the eighth or ninth eye roll, I’m worried they’re going to get stuck in my skull and decide it’s time to put away the offending book.

Yes, I love romance, and I love happily ever afters, but the characters have to earn it. It’s part of what makes the endings so delicious.

If the story has enemies become lovers, I can buy that. Seen it often enough in real life.

But if the story wants enemies to fall in love with each other? That’s tougher, but put them through a strong enough crucible in the story, and I can buy it. I want to buy it. I like reading romances. I want the characters to get together. But I also want to believe it.

Tell me they overcome their hate for each other because they’re soul mates? I’ll smile politely and slide that book over to the “don’t waste my precious reading time” pile.

Authors can bring together difficult characters, even characters that might strongly dislike each other at first. We believe the change in how they feel about each other through repeated interactions between the characters, with them learning through these interactions that they’d misjudged the other.

soulmate-meme-2

If they haven’t misjudged the other, than we need the characters to change and realize why their preconceived notion was wrong. And it has to more than, “oh, but I love this person, so clearly I was wrong all this time.”

The more you want the change, the more the plot has to challenge them.

Social Identity Theory tells me it’s not going to happen easily. The bigger the change, the harder it’s going to be to make it happen.

You see the enemies (or at least adversaries) become lovers a lot in television, especially when the writers have multiple seasons to build the romance.

Most romance novels don’t have multiple seasons, but it’s still doable in a single book. After all, in a romance novel, the whole point of the plot is to get the characters together. Yes, it’s possible, and most of us can think of some characters that we loved seeing get together even though they were ready to kill each other at the beginning of their relationship.

Done right, it makes an amazing an unforgettable romance. Done wrong, and an author has to tell me the characters get together because they’re soul mates and just can’t live without each other.

*eye roll*

 

How about you? Do you believe in soul mates? If so, why? I’m open to changing my mind! Have you ever read a soul mates story that was very well done? What made it good?

Where Are the Dragons?

The current books I am writing all take place in the same world. You’ll see the same characters, but each book is stand alone and has its own romance.

To date, I have not introduced a dragon character. Do I have them in my head, you betcha. At the moment, though, the people of my world believe that humans may carry a drop or two of dragon blood in their veins, but that dragons themselves were destroyed by the god that created them.

So, I love dragons, and I want to add them to my story, but a dragon takes things to a different level. They aren’t something you can just add without potentially unbalancing the world.

dragon3

 

As a romance writer, if I add a dragon, I also have to have an appropriate female love interest in the story. That’s a core part of the genre. That means we need an appropriately formidable female protagonist.

I have no issues with this as I enjoy strong female characters. No suitcases, please. But, that adds another layer of complexity if I have two such powerful characters.

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But, I still want them!

Anderantamosien, who goes by Ander to us mere mortals, is all ready to make his entrance. I have a full backstory for him, his character flushed out, and a motivation. I even have an idea for his love interest. The downside is that love interest would be the daughter of two characters whose story I’ve already written. I’m not sure I want to move time along in my world that much just yet. Although, strangely, I already have ideas for the children of other characters whose stories I’ve written as well. Perhaps this is because I already know so much about them and their parents.

What I’m struggling with is giving Ander an appropriate antagonist without becoming too Dragon Ball Z. I need to give this more time, let the thoughts percolate, but I most assuredly need to bring dragons into the world.

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For the moment, I’ve established the Dragon God, a symbol of justice and righteousness. He’s part of the Holy Trinity that includes the Goddess of Wisdom and the Goddess of Mercy. There’s the Unholy Triumvirate to oppose them. There are other gods, such as the god of death, that are part of the pantheon, but not really on the side of good or evil.

So, yes, I have established that dragons once existed. Ander’s story will talk about their fall and their current place in the world.

But I still need to give him a true challenge, a true adversary that could take all he wants. And I’m not looking to retell a Beauty and the Beast tale. Ander can, and does, take human form. Still haven’t decided if that should have an impact on what buildings he can walk in  or if, you know, magic. Because if a dragon has the kind of magic to take human form, of course he can adjust his mass accordingly.

 

How about you? Ever write or read a book with something as epic as dragons? How did you or the author you read handle them? Did you like it? Why or why not? Also, if you know any good romance novels with dragons in them, please put them in comments! I have been searching for books with this done right, and it’s been very difficult to find.