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October 9, 2016

Passion Play: finding the right emotional ride

by guest Damon Suede

Finding the right book at the right time for the right person often feels like threading a needle across a room by throwing a spool at it. Truth be told, writing the right book presents much the same challenge. Enthusiasm is all and craft only gets us part of the way. The best writers learn to tackle projects that make them passionate and then hope like hell that their passions and their readers’ coincide.


Giveaway!
Win Damon's ebook! Enter here.

We all have our favorite subgenres, our go-to categories, our autobuy authors, our guilty pleasure tropes. Of course there are overlaps, but a room with 1000 dedicated romance readers will give you 1001 perspectives on the possibilities of the human heart. That spectrum goes far beyond simple groupings because the niceties of voice and craft never stop evolving.

For reasons cultural, creative, and professional, Romancelandia exists in a state of constant reinvention and expansion, adapting to pop-culture and reflecting the zeitgeist as best it can as often as it dares. Aside from the central-relationship-plus-HEA baseline, romance really can run the gamut as far as world, tone, heat, and impact.

Romance is the literature of hope. And of course, hope takes unexpected forms every chance it gets, so an open mind can pay off big time.

As in an amusement park, new guests and devoted fans show up with a yen for certain kinds of ride. Some folks want a gentle drift past cartoon animals and some people want a roller coaster that will hang them upside down in the dark at 100 miles an hour. Even the way we experience books shifts depending on our mood and mode: sometimes you want to plunge in with a group so that the enjoyments is shared and amplified between you, sometimes you go it alone so your time and the ride is your own.

Happily, romance is more than wide enough to accommodate all tastes. Readers gravitate instinctively towards the lines and lands they favor... With the evolution in publishing, authors can stick to safe, familiar terrain and simultaneously veer out in wild, improbably direction that redraw the map.

Often our reading communities are defined by subtle overlaps between our taste and others whose shelves may resemble our own. These tightknit communities point us towards the desert island keepers and also help us step outside of our comfort zones in the best ways. You may dig the Ferris Wheel but maybe THIS is the bumper car you shouldn’t miss driving.

Spoiler alert: The only thing better than “riding” a book you love deeply is writing one. All writers begin as passionate readers...so the chance to deliver something unforgettable is pretty cool. There’s nothing so wonderful as planning the structure, laying the tracks, casting your characters, and making crazy discoveries that the readers might enjoy as much as you do. That front row seat with a new story is the reason I write. It’s like buckling yourself into the front car of the rollercoaster every damn day.

As an author, I get the chance to lay those tracks every time I sit down with a new story. In the same way that a roller coaster designer must love the ride enough to reinvent it, genre authors play with all the things that make the best books tech as they struggle towards the story in their head. Some books emerge whole in one swift first; some have false starts, dead ends, and unexpected sinkholes. Part of the gig.

I'm always reading outside of my comfort zone in an attempt to stretch the things I know how to do as an author. Part of that exploration is inside the genre: authors, styles, categories that don't really poke my no-no are destination one in my education as a writer. But I'm an unrepentant literacy slut... you name it I’ll try it: nonfiction and memoir and history and philosophy all shape the romantic rides I write.

Thankfully, I read fast: a book a day and more if I have free time. My husband says my head is like a wood chipper and I'm always tossing things in the maw. That takes a lot of recs. Almost every new author and title I discover comes from word-of-mouth. Someone on social media or a friend at lunch will wax ecstatic about some book and I will immediately one-click so that I have it in the queue. My colleagues and fans are constantly nudging me towards books that I’d never find on my own, which keeps my eye keen and my perspective fresh.

I'm currently in the middle of wrapping up an erotic cowboy contemporary, so naturally I made a point of going back to read some Western classics to drink from the source: Larry McMurtry, Zane Grey, Cormac McCarthy, Annie Proulx. But I also reread Elizabeth Gaskell for her precision handling small town relationships, and then Kristan Higgins and Sarah Morgan for their buoyancy and tartness. I dug out college copies of Angela Carter for her freewheeling take on neo-Freudian eroticism, which isn't as lit-wanky as it sounds. I spent a weekend buried in maps of East Texas and a history of the Big Thicket to remind me the things I forgotten in the years since I left the Lone Star State. Truth is, I could have written this book off the top of my head, but I always have more fun when I drill for oil.

Passion is catching.

As part of “Sparking Your Inner Goddess” I’d like to encourage you to put the word out to anyone who seems like a likely source. Let folks know what lights your fire, not just in generalities the authors and subgenres you like, but about the kinds of emotional ride that flip your switch: get specific about the tropes and twists, and escapism you can’t live without. Ask folks you trust and admire what unexpected treasures they’ve discovered and return the favor when you find something amazing.

Test romance “rides” that make you pee your pants, and once in a while check out the “lands” you usually skip. Something astonishing might have sprung up while you were otherwise engaged. Bringing folks of similar bent along for the ride makes the emotional ride better for all concerned. Spreading the word will help great books reach the right readers and may spark the right writers as well. And that’s an E-ticket worth punching as often as you can. — Damon

Pent Up: mix business with pleasure and take cover.

Ruben Oso moves to Manhattan to start his life over as a low-rent bodyguard and stumbles into a gig in a swanky Park Avenue penthouse. What begins as executive protection turns personal working for a debonair zillionaire who makes Ruben question everything about himself.

Watching over financial hotshot Andy Bauer puts Ruben in an impossible position. He knows zero about shady trading and his cocky boss lives barricaded in a glass tower with wall-to-wall secrets and hot-and-cold running paranoia. Can the danger be real? Is Andy for real?

What’s a bulletcatcher to do? Ruben knows his emotions are out of control even as he races to untangle a high-priced conspiracy and his crazy feelings before somebody gets dead. If his suspicions are right, Andy will pay a price neither can afford and Ruben may discover there’s no way to guard a heart. Pent Up is available at Dreamspinner, All Romance Ebooks, Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads.

Bio

Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com and sign up for his newsletter. Meet him on Facebook and Goodreads, and follow him on twitter at @DamonSuede.

Coming Next:

Novembersomething hot and heartfelt, tbdSharon Hamilton, the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary, romantic suspense and best known for her Seal Brotherhood series, is sure to bring us something super hot and heartfelt!

Full 2016 Guest Goddess Line-Up:

FebruaryNaughty Play — Kate explores the Dollar Tree store with her mind in the gutter in this Valentine's Day guide to exploring Kink on a Budget.

MarchSeductionElizabeth SaFleur, the author of The Elite Doms of Washington series (she likes to say "Not all power in D.C. is wielded by politicians.") explains why Lap Dances are good for you...and for your partner in Learning to Lap Dance — A Feminist Act.

AprilSelf-ImprovementTiffany Reisz, the author of the internationally bestselling and award-winning Original Sinners series, discusses her books and the Goddess topic of Self-Improvement in a lively Q&A.

MayLawyer Up excerpt — Read a naughty sex scene from Kate's steamy book.

JuneGetting NakedTheresa Roemer, CEO of her own lifestyle company, winner of the U.S. Open title in body building at age of 40, and former Mrs. Houston U.A. and Mrs. Texas U.A., discusses mind/body fitness and learning to be "proud of who you."

AugustRole PlayingCecilia Tan, the award-winning and best-selling author, offers seven tips for naughty, steamy, yummy, sexy Role Playing in the Bedroom.

SeptemberBalancing LifeSawyer Bennett, the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 30 romance novels, shares how she balances her hectic writing career with her equally-demanding personal life.”

DecemberChristmas and Sex — Me again, with a brand new discussion on playtime and romance with tips from some very sexy people, including more hot cover models. Just in time for some inspirational holiday shopping!

 

 

 

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