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We all have problems and a pandemic to deal with.

I love to escape by diving into the pages of a good book as a way to do it.

It’s a chance to forget my personal ish and revel in a fictional character’s dramatic life for a little while.

Whether it be a romance, contemporary fiction or a combination of both which is my preference, I’m in.

What about you? What’s your escape?

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Just enough intensity …anticipating what will happen next …before diving deeper…visualizing just how …

love girl kawaii heart hearts

I think that the definition of “romance” may have changed when I wasn’t looking.

A while back, I started (and stopped) reading a number of books on Kindle Unlimited after just a few chapters, either because lots of Easter Eggs and back story were given away within the first few pages OR because the book was simply a string of sex scenes strung together by an anemic story line.

Call me old-fashioned but great sex scenes in a novel require more than sexually explicit words tossed carelessly onto a page.

Or a bed.

In my opinion, writing a great sex scene requires effort, patience and some kind of love thrown into the mix in order to give the characters a happy ending.

That pun was totally intended! 🙂

But there was one e-book that had me shaking my head at just how quickly things unfolded and then deflated.

The breakdown of the book?

4% : Female character (FC) tells her boyfriend that she’s pregnant and the boyfriend dumps her.

6%: FC gets upset, storms out, has a minor accident and is helped by a sexy rugged stranger who takes her home because he lives nearby.

11%: FC tells sexy man her entire story and that she is pregnant. There’s a storm brewing so sexy man insists that she stay in his guest room.

13%: FC and sexy man fall into bed. He declares his love for her and tells her that he is ready and willing to love her and her baby.

Really?

All of that at the 13% of the book? Isn’t that a little quick? Where could the rest of the story possibly go?

I was curious enough to speed read through the rest of the 87% so I really can tell you where the rest of the story went:

Spiraling fast downhill until it crashed and burned.

  • No tense sensual build up between the characters.
  • No slow burn towards that first kiss.
  • No flirty moments between the two characters.

Nothing. Nada. Nein.

I’m not looking for the chaste vanilla of the Harlequin romance books my Granny devoured or the BDSM of Fifty Shades of Grey. There’s nothing wrong with themthey just aren’t my preference.

I can do without the 20 different words to describe the same body part and the blow-by-blow accounts of which body part went where and at what frequency…

I like my “romance” with just enough intensity between main characters that leaves me anticipating what will happen next between them. Romantic scenes that make me want to read and reread certain scenes before diving deeper into the book. Visualizing just how a scene would unfold in my mind.

Less is more.

And a little imagination is good for the soul…

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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WTF.

The way my head spun around must have scared that lady to death because she froze with her mouth wide when she saw me staring at her.

Or maybe it was the stink eye I gave her, I don’t know.

“Yeah, I heard that this novel is really good but the author’s Black so I don’t think that I’d relate…

That’s what she said right before she noticed me standing there. And when she did, she was quick to scurry off with her friend like a rat in the light to the far end of the bookstore.

It’s a good thing she did because I might have said something unpolitically correct standing in the middle of the “Romance” aisle.

Mira… [I have no clue why my brain always reverts to Spanish for this word instead of English]

Everyone, including that woman is entitled to think what she thinks and to feel what she feels. We are all entitled to our preferences.

I mean, stories that involve vampires, space, historical ship or urban street fiction don’t float my boat so naturally if the book cover represents any of that, I will likely pass.

But never NEVER have I looked at an author’s profile picture on a fiction book and said that I wouldn’t be able to relate to it because of the author’s color or ethnicity.

If anything, because of the “default White” book world in which I grew up reading, I’ve always looked beyond that default – Isabel Allende, Pico Iyer, Amy Tan and the list goes on. Not being from someone else’s cultural background has never stopped me.

There are a bunch of things I could unpack for you that lurk behind that woman’s words but I’ll leave that for another time.

What I will point out is that I curiously flipped through the novel that woman referred to and it was clear that she simply had assumed the storyline and book would be…uh… “Black”.

But it wasn’t.

The main characters were White, the book blurb didn’t refer to race and neither did the front cover.

I guess that romance and happily-ever-afters are not relatable if you’re from a different ethnic group.

Judging a book by its back cover will only make you miss out on some great reads and that woman surely did.

(By the way, my inside voice is still calling “that woman” by a totally different name… 👀)

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

I’m going to drop this post like it’s hot before I change my mind…

I’m thinking about participating in the A to Z Challenge in April 2020.

No, no, no.

I WILL participate in the A to Z Challenge in April 2020.

I know, I know…It wasn’t that long ago that I DECLARED that I was DONE with writing challenges (even if you’re truly bored, please don’t scroll back through my old posts and say, “Yeah, you did say that!”)

So yeah, I’m in.

First, I was thinking about writing a series of 26 “background” posts through the eyes of one of the characters in one of my stories. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much work it would be for little personal gain and so I nixed it.

Then, I thought about writing to 26 reasons why I’m writing the Wattpad story I’m still working on. I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to be totally authentic and open with that approach and so I nixed that too.

And that’s when it hit me.

As far as I know, there is no rule that says I can’t repost a previous participation. And if there is such a rule, don’t bother correcting me because I’m going to do what I plan to do anyways.

So…

After all that debating with myself, I’ve decided that I will repost a previous A to Z project and then use it as a springboard to ….

well…

…I won’t tell you about that just yet.

I’m still hashing out those details in my head and my head is a crazy space these days.

Stay tuned.

Will you be doing the A to Z Challenge this year? If so, let me know!

Bisous xoxo

Bots.

I’m not posting regularly so when I see an increase in my followers, I know it’s due to bots, bots and more bots.

I just don’t get it.

If you aren’t going to try to trick or spam me into buying something, why do bots follow blogs?

I understand those weird spam messages that go straight to my Junk folder but what does one gain by being a fake follower?

Do they hope that I’ll follow back without checking their supposed blog first? Will they eventually try to sell me something? Is it a creepy way to get into my account?

Can someone explain this to me?

I’m simply curious though I occasionally go further into my account and remove their follows right out of my hair.

So I joined a book club and I actually attended.

If you are thinking, “so what?”, I explained it here.

All in all, it was a positive experience and I’m glad that I’ve committed to doing it.
But I won’t lie

I hated feeling like the new kid at school and I dreaded what I knew was coming…

Everyone, let’s welcome Marquessa, our newest member. Marquessa, how about telling us a little about yourself?”

I’ll also be honest when I say that the book we had to read was not riveting in any way, shape or form. The only thing that I liked was that the story was “local” and Montreal-based.

Though I bought a physical copy of the book, I would not have finished it if I hadn’t bought the Audible version. The cheapskate in me had no choice but to finish it that way. (Thank you Audible!)

I could write a boring book review or tell you about the eclectic, diehard-reading, seasoned ladies who don’t hold their tongues but I won’t.

But I will share the benefits I’m already seeing for the “writer” in me:

Reading books I normally wouldn’t read. Since a Canadian literature course I took back in university, I don’t think I’ve read any other Canadian-authored books. Guess I need to expand my reading options…and I will.

Going local. I love it when a book is set in a REAL place that I’ve experienced for myself and that is the reason why I’ll be using local cities as a backdrop in my stories.

Listening to likes and dislikes of readers on character, plot, themes. During the discussion, it was like I had jumped into a real live blog comment section. Some people hated the first person narrative, others loved it, some didn’t understand the message of the book and so on and so forth. Quite interesting.

Snacks and free coffee. Homemade goodies, cheese, crackers, tea and coffee. Need I say more?

Accountability. If you can’t share your opinion because you didn’t finish the book, you feel stupid. And to not feel stupid, you force yourself to finish. Why do you think I finished the book when I didn’t feel like it?

Story ideas. A simple comment from someone in the group has already sparked an idea for a scene in a current story. where or the interactions between certain members are sparking ideas for story scenes. The writer’s brain is always on the lookout!

Yeah, I’ll be focusing on the positives of being in a book club until next year.

Do you belong to a book club?

Bisous,

M

Committing to anything, anyone and everything else is easy but when the commitment involves doing something just for me, it’s freaking hard.  I give up after a few half-assed attempts.

But if I want to get back into the writing groove, I need to shake things up.

Get out of my comfort zone.

Commit to doing something small and see it through to the end.

That something is going to be joining a book club.

I’m not in writing mode so I should at least be reading as writers are supposed to.

But my inner introvert voice is already encouraging me to run in the opposite direction…

It’s a big book club and you’re going to have to talk to people you don’t know. The minute you get there, you know that you’re gonna want to leave…

You can read those same books in the comfort of your home alone in your comfortable pyjamas with a tasty snack…

Why waste money on more books when you’ve got three piles of unread ones next to the sofa?

Y’all, my inner introvert voice is exhausting but I’m going to ignore it.

I’m committing to reading these books below. Book club meets once a month starting in the fall and to get a jump start on things, I just ordered the first book from Amazon.

Who knows, maybe I’ll stumbled upon a fellow introvert in the book club who is also I writer.

Fingers crossed.  🙂

Are you in any book clubs? Do you enjoy it?