Tap Dancing Plot Bunnies

And I had An American Elf beat out!  But, I realized something was missing in Act One and it set off a trsavethecatain wreck.   (((sigh)))  Better to catch it at this stage anyway.


The trouble of it is I wasn’t born knowing how to structure a story.  It all sort of just dumps on me.  Until I get the story beat out, I’m pretty overwhelmed.  Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder helps a lot.  http://www.savethecat.com/

I’m also rereading good books in the same subgenre to get my mind switched to that structure.


An American Elf…On Steroids

Just kidding.


Swedish ‘Meadow Elves’ 1805 by Nils Blommer.  They’re a lot more dignified than mine.

So after I kicked A Vintage Heart out the door, I got back to work on An American Elf and it promptly went bat-crap crazy on me.  You see, I pretty much finished the rough draft a year ago when A Vintage Heart leap-frogged it.  So, I was like, okay, pick up where I left off and I’ll have the little beauty out the door a month.  Oh, yeah.


Something was missing from Act One and no sooner did I seriously ponder that and the story split into three different novels in my head.  And I’m like, nooooo!  Well, but I kinda have to let it do that, because Brandr, the Heroine’s love interest, is such a complex character.  He’s blows my freakin’ mind and he doesn’t make sense if I don’t go back and let him have his day.

Yeah, I’m not sure how well this will qualify for Romance Genre.

The thing is Brandr is Bianca’s *future husband from a past time period.*  Let that sink in for a minute.

Did I mention this was a Time Travel?

I think I’m going to have to map this one out on the wall with markers and stickers and little bits of yarn.  And maybe sock puppets.  Nah, skip the sock puppets and hand me the ibuprofen.

I’m in for a ride.

My name is Bianca and I am an elf, an American elf. I break stuff and make a mess. Sometimes, I say words that horrify my much more dignified twin sister and I’ve been known to flip people off. Sorry.

The Less-Than-Romantic Romance Novel Hero


This is Liam Neeson who is not at all unromantic, but whose photograph is here to represent the ideal.   More on that later.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liam_Neeson

I’m sorry if this comes off as a rant.  I’ve hit a reading slump when it comes to the Romance genre.  I keep running into books with wonderful heroines.

And boring heroes.


This is James Stewart who is also not unromantic.  Definitely what I call a Classic Hottie.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Stewart


The thing is they hit all the beats for a Romance Novel Hero, but they don’t feel real.  The sex is just sex, no matter how graphically it’s written.  Not good enough, dang it.  Big Hint:   If the Hero bores me anyway, I’m not going to keep reading long enough to get to that part anyway.

Check this out.  Over 35% of Romance Genre readers have been reading in the Romance Genre for over twenty years.   https://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=582


Babe, that’s two decades.  Almost as long as I’ve been married.  Do you realize what this means?  Drum roll, please.

A significant percentage of Romance Genre Readers have lived long enough to know a lot of Real Men in Real Life.  I mean, a lot.  We know a fake when we see it.

And we’re not easily impressed.


Did you ever wonder why James Stewart has so many kids in It’s a Wonderful Life?  Because he was so romantic she forgot how to count.  That’s how.

My husband says all the heroes who appeal to me are just glorifications of him.

Guess what?  He’s right.  They’re always tall, boyishly handsome, and good with babies.  Well, like I always say, the best part of the Romance Genre is in restoring our faith in fairytales.  Without faith, there is no love in real life.


I’m also bad at math.  We have four children.  They’re massive.

So, please, if you have anything to do with putting out Romance novels, pay special attention to the heroes, ‘kay?  Thanks.


Promo Research, Being a Newbie, and Blogging Book Reviewers

I’m told Promo sends newbie authors running and screaming into the night.  If you’re one of those, my best piece of advice is to start your own Book Review Blog.  That is what I did years ago at http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/


Among the many benefits of doing so, like free ARCs and sharpening your writing skills by reading those of the best, you learn all about Promo and it will no longer scare you.  That is the path I took, other authors find other ways.

So, I finished and polished a novel and its off in Queryland somewhere.  I turn my attention to writing two more, because I’ve learned I do best when I have two going at once.  But, I also turn my attention to Promo just in case the one in Queryland snags a publisher.  This kind of research must be done regularly, because Promo opportunities change fast.  I was out of it for family and physical problems for, like, four years, I come back and Holy Cow!  There are blog tour companies doing everything I used to do all by my little self!

Very cool.

So, I suggest, after you start your book review blog, sign up for as a Blog Host.  It’s a great way to get into the groove fast.  😉



I’m with two right now, Lola and Prism.

Tour Host Button


Here are a couple more great ones-

Tasty Book Tours-   http://tastybooktours.com/home

Xpresso Book Tours- http://xpressobooktours.com/

There are a bunch more.  I suggest choosing one or two which promotes the kind of books you enjoy reading as well as ones similar to what you write.

Throughout your adventures in the Blogosphere, you will encounter many wonderful book review blogs.  I’m still friends with several and they’re authors now too.  Make a list of these wonderful people and swap advice and encouragement.



There are also big book review blogs, like these ones-




You can’t do everything, or you’ll fry your poor hands on the keyboard and you need them for writing novels.  Personally, I’ve found the most traction on Twitter and Goodreads, but I think all writers should have a Facebook Page and personal site too.  This blog doubles as my personal site, which is why I have a domain name.  Buy your domain and get an email address that reflects it.  At this point, I’m still just with regular service.  Once I pub again, I’ll get an email addy which teams with my domain.

Anyway, get out there.  It’s really not that hard, if you keep plugging away.  One of the many things I learned as a blogging book reviewer is that the best authors never stopped trying to improve their skills.



Those Fictional Nannies & Governesses

I read a wonderful post on why Romance genre readers love governess stories.


The funny thing is none of the reasons apply to me and I’m a graduate of the English Nanny & Governess School.

All the reasons given are wonderful and the post is very good, definitely worth reading.  The mark of a great story, I think, is that different people can enjoy it for different reasons.

So, why do I like governess stories?  Or nanny or any other childcare provider really.

Actually, I hate most of them.  (The ones mentioned in the post are wonderful.)  There are several reasons why.  The most irritating one is when the governess is portrayed as unprofessional, only doing it to get what else she wants and she doesn’t actually even like children.  Another one is when the writer portrays her as hardly interacting with the children at all.  I mean, why have her be a childcare professional if she doesn’t have anything to do with children?  While we’re on the subject, why have children in the story if they’re only there to look cute once in a while?


(Charlotte de La Motte Houdancourt, a duchess, looked after the future King Louis XV of France and is credited with saving his life during a Measles epidemic.)

Don’t even get me started on nannies as villains.  That’s usually for a different genre, thank God.

So, why do I like *some* governess stories, coming from that walk of life in reality?  Childcare professionals are humans (as far as we know) and so they’re all different.  Most have a few things in common, however.  Besides a deep, abiding love of children, we tend to be *highly intuitive* and we derive pleasure from helping, supporting, and nurturing others.  An employer’s success is the nanny’s success, because they can’t do their work without her.  Besides the practical side, the employer would be worried sick about her children and unable to focus on her work.  It was often said back in my nanny days, “Behind every great woman there is another great woman, her nanny.”


(The nanny is the one in tan uniform between the Queen and Prince George.)

Before I go on, I should mention the difference between a Nanny and a Governess.  In the Historical setting, anyone with the proper training and/or experience and integrity could be a nanny while a governess generally also came from the middle or upper classes, but fallen on poorer circumstances.  Today, a governess is a nanny with a four year college degree who can home educate her charges for whatever reason, such as traveling with the employers.  In both time periods, a nanny general works with young children and governesses with older children.


So, what makes me enjoy a governess, or nanny, tale?  It’s when the governess is portrayed as a dedicated professional who enjoys nurturing the children and supporting the employer, obviously.  On top of that, if I see her being intuitive and sensitive and intelligent, that helps.  Nannies and governesses are not supposed to be the center of attention, which means the Hero would be required to pay attention and listen and notice more than a pretty face.

In real life, I was never, ever intrigued by the possibility of a nanny/employer romance.  Ew.  Seriously.  Don’t even get me started.  After thousands of dollars in education and years of employment, that’s really not the reason a professional nanny or governess is there and it almost always ends in disaster, which wastes all the time and money spent on that career choice.  It does happen, but it’s actually very rare.  This is because most employers are married/partnered and a professional governess or nanny would never disrupt the harmony of the home for her own selfish purposes.  That would not be happy or healthy for the children.

And the children always come first.  Always.


The wonderful article that started it all- http://happyeverafter.usatoday.com/2017/03/08/madeline-hunter-readers-love-historical-romance-governesses/?platform=hootsuite

My alma mater-   http://www.nanny-governess.com/hiringagoverness.html


Switching Story Structure in My Brain


Not long ago, structuring my stories was my greatest challenge.  In fact, I still need to do it very deliberately.  Nowadays, my biggest challenges are transitions and descriptions.  These challenges all stem from one thing.

I think in pictures.

For me, a story starts out a huge pile of images.  The whole story is present in my conscious mind all at once all the time.  I can jump in and out of the story at any point in the timeline.  Very nonlinear.

This is great for story creation.

Turning my story into a manuscript other human beings can both comprehend and enjoy.  Not so much.  cqfqg9zumae_uhp

My last story, A Vintage Heart in Hollywood, was Contemporary Romance.


Now, I’m working on a Fantasy.  Yeah, let’s just call it that.  I mean, it’s other things, but that’s the one constant.  It’s also a Time Travel.  With elves.  And vampires.  And bigfoot.  Wait.  Squirrel!  Oh, sorry.  Got distracted again.

Okay, so An American Elf is basically a Fantasy.  That means a lot bigger, more complicated story structure.  Since I’m visual, part of the time_macine60process will likely get mapped out on a large sheet of poster board on the wall.  And also notecards.  Each major character with its own color code.  Oy.  Way different than a simple Contemporary Romance story structure.

It’ll be fun though.  I love all that stuff.  It’s the editing that turns me into a squished bug.


Guess I’d better go read some good books in this genre/subgenre to help my brain make the switch to the new structure.  The cover art is from some of those stories.


For example, Twilight by Stephanie Meyer is an excellent example of First Person POV writing and world-building in the present day, I think.  Never really liked the two main characters, loved several of the minor ones though.

Happy Saturday.  🙂