25 November 2012

Guilty Confession

I still love old school heroines. It's like brain candy for me. I was raised on old school heroines and I still enjoy them.

Do I write them? No. Not in the least, but I do love revisiting my favorite books and reading about them.

I think the only old school heroine I loathe, and I mean, LOATHE is Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind. I'm sorry, but she was just a big beyotch and I know I'll get slack.

I still remember reading my first old school heroine. She was Maggie Afton of Connie Mason's Ice and Rapture.

I still have a very well worn copy of the book, it's falling apart from multiple reads and I keep it because it was one of the last two books my Grandmother read before she died (the other book was Jewels by Danielle Steele, which I also love).

I took those two books from her hospital room. I'd already read them, because we read things together as she tried to fight the cancer which killed her. It was a way to spend time together and I don't think my mother knew her mother was debauching her daughter. LOL!

My grandma (Nanny) always like to read "Hot books. The hotter the better."

Funny, now I write erotic romance.

I digress, Maggie Afton was plucky, a reporter and willing to do STUPID things to get to the Goldfields during the Yukon Goldrush. And I mean stupid things, like trusting two varmints to take her to the goldfields where they planned to rape and kill her. Thank goodness Chase McGarrett (the Hero) stepped in, but that's a whole other post on HIM!

She also could have saved herself some serious heart ache and issues if she would've just TALKED TO THE HERO! Jayzus, woman for being a reporter she was a bit stubborn.

But I loved her. I still love her. She is my favorite old school heroine of all time.

Do you have a favorite old school heroine you love?

22 November 2012

Where We Come From – The Influence of Our History, Recent or Long Gone

by A. Catherine Noon

For those of you in the States, Happy Thanksgiving! For the rest of you, Happy Thursday! As my family pauses to take stock, and make a feast (and, to be honest, make stock when we take the turkey carcass on Friday and make soup out of it, but I digress), I got to thinking: where do I come from? I’m blonde, blue-eyed, and pale complected; to many in my multicultural neighborhood (and I’m not kidding, there are seventeen different languages spoken just on my block here in Chicago) I am a “White American,” or just, “White.” What does that mean? Am I?

When my father’s grandparents came here from Ireland to escape the crushing poverty of the Potato Famine and political unrest, they arrived to a New York City that hated Irish. Signs saying “No Irish” peppered the city and to be heard speaking in brogue was akin to being considered “White trash” today. I don’t know much about what my great-grandfather did, but I know they were very poor. My grandfather joined the United States Marines and became a full Colonel before he retired after the end of WWII. At one point he commanded the El Toro Air Base in Torrance, California.

My mother’s grandparents owned shares in several banks and ran a general store, among other things. There is a house on the National Historic Register on the Battlefield at Gettysburg that was in my family and is known by my grandmother’s maiden name. My mothers’ family has been here since before the American Revolution, in fact, and we trace our lineage back to a German soldier who served the colonial forces. I’m not sure if that means he was a mercenary, as many German soldiers of the time were, or if he simply came from German ancestry. I do know that he is the only person I’ve found in my family tree who isn’t from Ireland, England, or Scotland.

I remember once when a Polish-Italian-American friend of mine asked me about my background. I showed her the family tree on my mother’s side and explained some of what I know about my father’s and she seemed wistful. Her family could only go back about three generations because of the giant, gaping wound that World War II created. Even if she knew the town in Poland from where her mother’s family came, the records were destroyed when the Nazis and then the Soviets invaded. The information is simply not there.

It wasn’t until I moved here to Chicago and came in contact with a large and proud Irish-American cultural group that I realized what I’d been missing. I’d always felt a sense of not-belonging, whether it was when I was a child and didn’t fit in or as an adult when I didn’t know what “my culture” was. Other friends who had strong ethnic and religious backgrounds seemed to have a sense of place that I didn’t. I couldn’t even claim California as heritage; I was born in Boston. So who am I?

The Irish-American culture here felt like home in a way I never experienced before. All of a sudden, people talked like me and reminded me of my dad and his side of my family. Of course, the “eff-bomb” is a common swearword, but it’s deeper than that. It’s something indefinable. For all my years working amongst, and fighting for the value of, multicultural individuals, I never felt truly at home in any particular culture where I lived. I’m a good mimic and speak several languages, so I could “fake it,” but the bedrock never really appeared for me. Meeting others of my same cultural background changed that and all of a sudden I felt at home in a peculiar, unexplainable way.

I feel sorry for refugees. Not in the way the words “feel sorry for” evoke feelings of pity; I don’t mean that. I mean that there is a deep wrenching loss when you don’t belong. Culture shock is very real and very painful. Not being able to communicate due to language differences is jarring, whether you’re trying to talk about something meaningful or you simply want to order a pizza. I watch coworkers speed up when they talk to non-native English speakers, as though by impatience alone they will convey their meaning better. I watch friends of mine yell into a drive-through where a non-native English speaker is trying to take their order. This is unfair and interferes with the process of communication, of getting onto the same page so we can learn from each other and create something that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

That said, I don’t think I ever really “got it” that cultural acceptance can ease our minds at some deep, unspoken, pre-language place. There is a relief in knowing you don’t have to explain your cultural context, because it’s already understood. It wasn’t until I met the Irish-American community here that I experienced that. All of a sudden, I had a sense I knew where “my people” lived.

Wherever you are today, whatever your cultural or ethnic background, I wish you well. This country, despite what the recent political rhetoric would say to the contrary, was founded out of the simple desire of disparate people to find a place they could be themselves in peace, along with others trying to do the same. Maryland was for the Catholics, Connecticut and Massachusetts for the Puritans, the South to the British landowners, and all sorts of other groups besides – the waves of Irish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Mexican, Middle-Eastern… the endless list of individuals who live here and try to create homes and families together. To me, that is what Thanksgiving is about – giving thanks for this place we call home, despite its faults and because of its strengths.

Especially in light of what’s happening in the Gaza Strip right now, home is something we cannot take for granted. If we have homes that are at peace and safe, if our children can play without threat, if we can put food on the table, then we are wealthy indeed. And if you live in a place at war, or not at peace, then may you be safe and may the gods grant you speedy end to the conflict and that you and yours find safety and serenity.

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora 
Knoontime Knitting:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Website | Facebook
Team Blogs: Nightlight | The Writers Retreat Blog | Beyond the Veil | LGBT Fantasy Fans and Writers
Publishers: Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press

Check out BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.
Check out "Taking a Chance", part of the Charity Sips 2012 to benefit NOH8, available from Torquere Books.
Watch for TIGER TIGER, coming July 2013 from Samhain Publishing.

18 November 2012

A #NaNoWriMo Success Story!

It's a good time, I think, with November drawing to a close and thousands of NaNoWriMo authors gasping over their keyboards to give them a bit of inspiration. I've written on my blog other thoughts on the month-long exercise in insanity and how to get the most you can out of it with or without finishing the 50K run.

Here's another one.

"Blood of the Pride" started off as a NaNo project a few years ago, a second try at winning the contest after doing so the previous year with "Blaze of Glory". That book was still in edits and I wanted to do something different, something away from the superhero romance. The first sentence came to me...

"I smelled the blood before I had a chance to look for it, the tangy, dense scent landing on the back of my tongue."

Right then I knew this was going to be a detective novel of a different sort, of a cat shifter who couldn't shift and was outcast from her people. Rebecca Desjardin talked her way through the book and I pulled it off, finishing the first draft before the end of the month.

And, as you can see... it sold.

In fact, it sold so well to Carina Press that not only is there an audiobook out for "Blood of the Pride" but it's also been included in the Direct-To-Consumer for Harlequin's February 2013 paranormal shipment to their subscribers. So it's going to print.

And then there's this:

Yep. A sequel.

The second in four books under contract with Carina Press. "Claws Bared" comes out in January 2013 in ebook and in audiobook format. The third and fourth books are due in June and September. I'm hoping for them to also go to print.

This was a NaNoWriMo project. This is a project I worked on long after the month was over and edited to death before submitting it.

This is a NaNo success story as far as I'm concerned.

And if it could happen to me it could happen to you.

You may feel overwhelmed with the words on the page. You might feel like you're floundering and just can't get up; wallowing in the speed writing.

It's okay. It's okay NOT to finish by the end of the month. But you have to finish.

And then, if you want, edit edit edit to death.

Because you CAN sell a NaNo novel.

I did.

And you can too.

Now get back to that keyboard!

17 November 2012

Talking About Old School And Older

Synchronicity lives at Beyond the Veil.  Who knew both Anya and I would both be taking a trip in the Way Back Machine this month?  Instead of Mills and Boon, however, my  engine turned out to be Bob Osborne on TCM and this month's festival of great movie adaptations.

Great books seldom make movies as great as John Huston's version of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon.  They're even more rarely true to the book and and its larger than life female characters.  Hammett's Brigid O’Shaughnessy displays all the necessary qualifications for a classic old school heroine.  She’s twenty-three, possessed of porcelain skin and big blue eyes, and prefers to talk in a breathy, girlish voice.  Mary Astor was ten years older than the literary Brigid when she played the role, but everything else about her portrayal comes straight from Hammett.

I’m watching her now.  Our classic old school heroine just kneed a guy in the nuts less than two minutes after pistol whipping him.

Welcome to the world of real old school heroines.  Brigid might have been the ultimate bad girl, but Dashiell Hammet didn’t write wimpy women.  Even good girls like Nora Charles could handle whatever the plot dished out.  As one of The Thin Man's gunsels pointed out, she was a woman with hair on her chest.  But what would you expect from a man who's life partner was Lillian Hellman?

Shakespeare wrote some notable drips (Ophelia, anyone?  To say nothing of Juliet, the original Little Miss Too Stupid To Live).  But he also gave us Viola and Beatrice, who famously yearned to a certain cad’s heart in the marketplace.  And they were Shakespeare’s good girls.

Homer gave us Penelope.  The Arabian Nights gave us Scheherazade.  You can’t get much more old school than that. 

My point is, you can’t equate “old school heroine” with weak or ineffectual.  You can’t even use those words to describe virginal heroines.  Elizabeth Bennett is unquestionably a virgin, but no one could question her tough-mindedness.  No one could say she lacks agency. 

Most of the weak-minded lack of agency we associate with old school heroines was in fact a product of mid-twentieth century genre publishing tropes, specifically the belief of certain publishing executives that the women who helped win World War II didn't want to read about women as multi-faceted and capable as they were. 

It would be tempting to blame this view on the 1950s' desperate search for normalcy amid the Red Scare and very real fears of nuclear annihilation.  After all, this is the era which gave us the insulting neuroses and emotional fragility of Doris Day’s portrayal of Jo McKenna in the 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much.  But three years earlier, in Otto Preminger’s The Moon Is Blue, Maggie MacNamara played good girl Patty O’Neill—a girl who states right up front that she’s a virgin and plans to stay that way—as a smart professional woman who confounds dedicated playboys William Holden and David Niven.  Not only that, she does it dressed like an old school Barbie—tiny waist, pony tail, Mamie Eisenhower bangs and all.

In fact, the attitudes of publishing executives on the subject of “acceptable” heroines lagged far behind what was happening in American and European society, especially as the Seventies gave way to the Eighties.  In Reflections on the Magic of Writing, a new compilation of Diana Wynne Jones’s essays and lectures, Jones writes about how she had to “sneak” a strong female hero into Dogsbody by telling it from the dog’s point of view.  It took her years to work up to writing Polly in Fire and Hemlock and (my personal favorite) Sophie in Howl’s Moving Castle.

If one of the most well-respected literary fantasy writers of the late 20th century had to tread carefully in her fictional depictions of girls and women, imagine what it was like trying to work in the hothouse environment of series romance.  Yet series romance writers, as much as Jones and romantic mystery writers like Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters, were working to change perceptions of women and women characters from the inside out.

Personally, I’m thrilled the most insulting aspects of mid-century romance heroines have gone out of literary fashion.  I like reading books that reflect the realities of my life as a woman, about heroines who can kick a guy in the nuts for lying and still qualify for an HEA.  But that doesn’t mean the realities of my life are the only valid realities out there.

As far as I’m concerned there’s still room for old school good girls.  After all, there’s a lot to be said for women who triumph over the constraints of their circumstances like Beatrice and Elizabeth Bennett, Scheherazade and Patty O’Neill.

To say nothing of Sophie.

Jean Marie Ward

(And if you want to read more about Reflections on the Magic of Writing—and how could you not?—I strongly recommend Ana’s review at Things Mean A Lot.)

16 November 2012

Nothing New Under the Sun

When the theme came up for November, “Is there a place for old-school heroines in modern romance novels?” it made me laugh just a little. First, let me say, I’ve been reading romances for an unconscionable number of years. My mother was a huge Mills & Boon fan, and while my tastes in genres are a lot wider than hers, when in need of a read I’d grab one of her thousands of books. Her romance library spanned from the early 60s forward. When I was about eleven, and my grandmother realized I was reading those books, she decided I should only be reading Barbara Cartlands, and would send me piles of them. From there, in my mid-teens (still in the Dark Ages LOL!) I branched out, finding and devouring whatever caught my eye.

So when presented with the term, “old-school heroine” maybe my perception of what that means might differ slightly from someone who’s looking at the 1980s, or even the 1970s. I know the term is generally meant to mean the too silly to live heroine who needs the man to save her, usually over and over again, as he molds her gently (or not so gently) into the woman of his dreams. Yet, is that really what an old-school heroine is? How old is old school? And in any timeframe have all the heroines in romance been created in any one mold?

Barbara Cartland was well known for writing heroines who often would fit into the TSTL mold (let me add a caveat that not all of them would). Yet one of her contemporaries, Georgette Heyer, often wrote incredibly strong-minded, strong-willed, smart as a whip heroines, one of my favorites being Sophia Stanton-Lacey in The Grand Sophy, which was first published in 1950.

Too far back, perhaps? Okay, let’s look at the 1970s when, despite being the era of sex, drugs and disco, romances still had heroines who hadn’t a clue about the real world, right? Well, despite the simpering girl/women in some romances, there were also women like Aislinn of Darkenwald, from The Wolf and the Dove. She’s never broken. Instead the hero has to learn to live with a woman as strong willed as he is!

Yet, if we take the saying ‘old school heroine’ at face value, using it to mean the young, virginal heroine who apparently doesn’t know her ass from her elbow, I’d say she’s been around forever…and she apparently isn’t going anywhere. There are variations on the theme. The Unknowingly Powerful heroine, who has no clue about the magic residing within until some forceful older man, often portrayed as the mentor, saves her from obscurity and shows her the truth. The Sweet Doormat, who isn’t moved to stand up for herself until her love for the hero makes it imperative. The Hopelessly Clumsy and Clueless heroine, who doesn’t know how beautiful and desirable she is until the hero can’t resist her allure. Within the last year I’ve read newly released books with those themes, with those heroines.

It can, actually, be done now and even sometimes done well. I think the difference between many of the older books with those heroines and the newer incarnations is the endings. Instead of being no smarter, savvier or able than she was at the beginning, the new breed of old-school heroine is expected to get her act together, and GROW. Not just grow into the relationship, but grow into herself, become a woman in control of her own life, not just a cipher for her man. Realistically though? I can think of at least one book I’ve read recently where at the end I still wanted to strangle the woman and shoot the man, because she was a twit and he a bully and neither had learned anything at the conclusion of the story.

So I guess the answer, at least for some publishers and readers, is yes…there is a place for that old-school heroine. She’s a part of romance history, and doesn’t seem inclined to go quietly into the good night. And as long as there’s a demand for them, they’ll continue to people the pages of romance novels.

13 November 2012

Phoenix Legacy: Officially A Series!

Phoenix Legacy, the second novel, third story in my Phoenix Institute superhero romance series releases in ebook form today!

Night Owl Reviews made it a top pick, calling it a "wonderfully entertaining rollercoaster read."

Here's the official blurb:

Philip Drake is immortal by virtue of a psychic power that heals all but the worst injuries. He’s needed every bit of it as a black ops agent, a life so violent that the line between pain and pleasure is tangled up in his head.

When he walks away from the CIA, the last thing he expects is to discover someone stole his DNA to create a race of super-healers. And that the expectant mother is a woman from his past who’d consider it her pleasure to spit on his grave.

One moment, Delilah Sefton is listening to a seriously hot, seriously deranged man giving her some half-baked explanation as to why she’s pregnant with no memory of how she got that way. The next, armed men swarm into her bar, and she and Mr. Sexy-Crazy are on the run.

Safety at the Phoenix Institute is only temporary, but it’s long enough to put the pieces together. A madman plans to steal her son in a plot to take over the world. And to stop him, she must learn to trust the baby’s father—a man she blames for her greatest loss.

It's no secret I love superheroes and action stories and that my idea of a romance is The Terminator where Kyle lives at the end. But I also want my stories to have some resonance, like Lois McMaster Bujold's brilliant Vorkosigan series does for me, to the point where I've memorized individual lines of dialogue, like this exchange:

"It's an impossible job."

"That happens sometimes."

The exchange is from Bujold's Cordelia's Honor, one of my favorite science fiction romances, though you'll find it on the science fiction shelves. (If you've never read it, well, go buy it!)

There are a lot of sociological issues explored in Bujold's writing along with space battles, political machinations, scheming, fights, and various murders and, oh, some of the best characters I've ever read. Aral. :sigh: 

That depth is why I re-read the Vorkosigan series so often. 

I've no idea if I can do this resonance as well as Bujold and many other talented authors but there's no sense writing something if one doesn't aim high. 

So while I love that Phoenix Legacy is a fast-paced romantic adventure, I also wanted to cram it full of emotional intensity. The warped bond between Philip and Del leads up to their sex scene, which is not conventional in any sense of the word. I can only say that Philip's pain/pleasure confusion plays a large part. 

I'm extremely curious as to how readers will react to the scene and the one before it. I suspect if I say it out loud now, there are more than a few people who'll say "NO! That will never work," so I'm being cagey. It works in context, so I firmly believe. Also, Anne Stuart told me to go for it when I asked her about dark heroes, so that was all the reassurance I needed to let the story play out as it must.  

I think Legacy is very sweet in the end but see the above about my idea of a romance. :) 

The other question that I wanted to explore is how tragedy can follow a person through their lives and how they get accept it and move on. Philip is stuck in a violent moment that he thinks defines him for the worst. And yet...if he didn't want more, he wouldn't have saved his foster daughter, the eventual heroine of Phoenix  Risingfrom some seriously bad guys.

Above: Philip saving Beth, in what he views as his one purely good moment in his life. Art is by the wonderful and talented Cassandra James.  

What is forgiveness or closure? Can the past remain in the past instead of defining the future? How does a person define themselves as good or evil? 

After I wrote the story, I was compelled to write an epilogue for Legacy. It put a lump in my throat, in a good way. 

I'm hoping it does the same for readers.   

Corrina Lawson is a writer, mom, geek and superhero thought not always all four of these things on the same day. You can find her at www.corrina-lawson.com 

12 November 2012

Old School and New School—Romantic Set-ups

A funny thing happened to me on the way to publishing my third book.

My editor rejected it. Soundly, I might add. And tears, I’ll add those too. I just figured that once I’d sold two books I was golden. Editors supposed to love everything their authors write, right?
Um, not necessarily.

The main reason my editor rejected the manuscript was that it didn’t follow a typical old school set-up. The characters actually liked each other the moment they met. Not love, but like. This was no good.  Who knew? Well, my editor, but not me.

I didn’t understand that since the dawning of time, readers have adored the old school romantic trope of “enemies to lovers”, or “strangers to lovers”. Those storylines are still going strong because the conflict and tension between the characters is palpable. Conflict keeps us turning pages. The desire to resolve the conflict in a satisfying loving way is why most of us read romance.

After pouting for a bit, I realized I needed to increase the conflict. I began the arduous task by throwing out the first third of the book and starting over from scratch. I made things tougher for my characters. They don’t hate each other but they do have competing objectives—real, noble, life or death goals. If one wins, the other loses and people could die unless they find a way to work together.

After tossing out the first third, I tossed the middle third and completely rewrote the final third. You don’t need to be a mathematician to see that I rewrote the whole darned enchilada. But it’s okay because I love it! This story is much deeper, more complex, more emotional, more…everything. Breath-stealing conflict was the key. Characters we love to root for is another other key. Heart-stopping plot is the third. Well, there are lots of keys.

I am still tinkering, but I am tickled to say that this manuscript is a finalist in four writing contests. I am excited beyond words to see what the final judges decide.

Apparently my editor, like my Mom, is always right.


07 November 2012

The Woman's Journey.

In fantasy, there's a lot of stories modeled after The Hero's Journey. A boy who is called to adventure, answers the call, faces challenges and hardships, and eventually defeats evil. That's a pretty simple breakdown, but it's all the books I ever read as a kid. To the point I sort of wished I'd been born a boy - they seemed to have MUCH cooler lives.

Then I read some romances, and the women just...fell in love. They didn't get to have sword fights or anything. They just...fell for some guy who eventually figured out he loved her, too. (Though I gravitated toward beta heroes, even then, so they were nice guys.) Of course, the moment they realized they were in love, everything worked out - they caught the killer, found the forgers, captured the robber (I liked romantic suspense a lot!)

The first book I wrote as an adult, then, tried to merge those two genres. A hero's journey, where the hero just happened to be female. She was called to adventure, battled the demons, and fell in love. But falling in love wasn't a solution for her, it was, in fact, an inconvenience. It caused more problems than it solved.

I didn't realize it at the time, but there was an entire wave of writers working on very similar stories. They are the new wave of Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. They feature strong women who might fall in love, but who don't need a man to complete them. They feature that hero's journey formula, but they allow the woman to be the one who discovers she's the leader of the longlost race, that she's the princess in disguise, that she's the savior of the universe.

I still prefer stories that are all about the woman. I even like them in first person, or third person where we never get the love interest's point of view. Because one of the uncertainties in my life is wondering how other people see me. What they think. How they feel. And there's something reassuring about a strong, independent heroine who has those same concerns. (It's even more fun when *I* can see that the hero loves her, and I can yell at the book for her to stop being so ridiculous, of COURSE he loves her, and would she just figure it out already!?)

But for me, the books I write and read are all about the heroine. They're about her journey, her realizations, her growth, her power. And through her, those things are within reach of the reader, too.

01 November 2012

Old-school heroines

 Is there room left for an old-school heroine?

Good question. I suppose it depends, in part, on your definition of 'old-school'.

When I first discovered romance novels, I read mostly Harlequin stories. At that time, they all seemed to revolve around the young, virginal heroine and the older, gruff, and very experienced hero. Since they were mostly told in the heroine's point of view, the reader rarely knew what the hero was feeling or thinking -- our only clues came from the rather limited and naive perspective of the young heroine. She was usually wrong. ;)

Back then, it didn't matter that the heroine often needed the hero to save her; or that the biggest 'conflict' was often a silly misunderstanding; or that, at times, the hero seemed harsh, even to the point of being rather a bully, if not abusive. When I was thirteen, I didn't know any better. And apparently neither did a large portion of the romance readership.

Now we are more enlightened. When I think of the term 'old-school heroine', I think of those rather shy, sometimes pathetically inept but kind, untried heroines who always needed to be saved. In that respect, no, I don't feel they have much of a place in the romances of today. But they do still pop up from time to time, sadly enough. I've seen the trend, in particular, take a subtle shift in that direction when it comes to some Young Adult stories and a few adult romances. Nope, not mentioning any titles.

I have nothing against the hero riding into the rescue. I personally love the idea of letting the big, strong man take charge and deal with the messes of life while he protects those he loves. There are days when I wish the man in my life could deal with the hard stuff and let me be the pampered heroine back at the ranch. Sometimes he does; mostly, we share the load.

That said, I prefer to see and be a heroine who can stand by her man -- or at least watch his back when things get dicey. The women in my favorite stories don't have to be trained in martial arts or able to beat the bad guy (gal) in battle. But she can't be a wimp, either. She also can't be "too stupid to live" -- No, sweetie, don't go alone and unarmed into the basement where the serial killer is waiting. DUH!

In my fictional worlds, a heroine should be strong and tough, with a few edges of weakness about her. She can't be invincible because no one would relate well to her. And please, IF she has to go into that basement, give her a really good reason. If she has to rescue the hero, let her show a softer side when the time allows. But don't drop her into a fetal position when she and her man have a fight and are separated forever. Let her cry, sure. A good, hard cry is very therapeutic. Then pluck her up off her butt and get her moving again.

There are all kinds of heroines in the real world and in fiction. I suppose it's up to each of us what type we want to be; what type we want to read about. But humans are complex creatures -- we're rarely all one thing or another at all times. The best heroines will always be those with some depth.

Meg Allison
Indulge your senses...

Thirteen Dubious Halloween Candies

At Beyond the Veil in November, bloggers are going to be talking about romance genre heroines or the influence of history on our writing. Some might be talking about the influence of history on romance genre heroines...or romance heroines throughout history...because we have some particularly clever bloggers here. As I'm in a post-Halloween candy fugue, today I'm not one of them.

Today I'm lucky to be sharing a list of thirteen dubious types of candy in my kid's Halloween haul. None of these candies are contributors to my fugue today, I'm proud to say...

1) Eyeballs. We haven't opened one yet, but the foil wrapping looks like an eyeball. Wonder if it's chocolate?
2) Smaller eyeballs. These aren't in foil but are in unlabeled packaging. No label on the packaging makes me instantly dubious.
3) Squishy crab-shaped things. Packaging yet again has no labels. They look like gummy versions of the coconut crab (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconut_crab) . Coconut is good, but the crab--no thanks. (However, these images are for your nightmares! http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-incredible-photos-coconut-crab?image=0)
4) Bones. I guess these are hard sugar candies? There's no label on the packaging. Shocker. I'm just not a fan of putting unlabeled food items in my mouth.
5) Pixie sticks. Dubious because...what is the point? There's chocolate to be had.
6) Candy corn. I know some folks enjoy the waxy edible, but I'd rather eat chocolate. Though I did crochet a jaunty candy corn hat that we all fight over on Halloween.
7) Halloween Peeps. Just no. Chocolate can't even save them; they're all around grody.
8) Tigerpops. It's a sucker. Is it full of tiger's blood? Will it make you act like Charlie Sheen?
9) Jawbreakers / Jawbusters (the package has both names). What is it, jaws of life for if you get a Tootsie Roll stuck between your teeth?
10) Christmas candy. Christmas. Candy. In October. Either somebody time traveled or this is some damn old chocolate. Into the trash with ye!
11) Laffy Taffy. After one nibble, trust me, you won't be laughing.
12) Flavor Morph. It's small, it's square, it's generic, and it's not chocolate. Nuff said.
13) Airheads. I don't even know what it is. Maybe I'll make one of the kids taste it so my mockery can be more specific next year.

Hopefully the rest of the bloggers this month will be more on topic! But at least I kept it short...


Jody Wallace
Author, Cat Person, Amigurumist
http://www.jodywallace.com  * http://www.meankitty.com