Ask a male author about your male character traits or thoughts.

Amazon links to my stories: Autumn Breeze, A More Perfect Union, Double Happiness, The Wolves of Sherwood Forest, Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden can be found down the right side of the blog. Another site very useful in categorizing books in their proper order is: https://www.booksradar.com/richard-rw/richard.html


Visit my website at: https://rwrichardnet.wordpress.com/

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Infusing your story

Do you have that run-down feeling? Is your prose wimpy, lifeless? Aside from informal interior thoughts of the most personal kind what can you do to perk it up?
Try poetry or song.
It would not be the first time a suiter springs poetry on his heroine or visa versa, but if well written it will convey more in a stanza then might be offered in a whole scene, because poetry unveils the heart and depth of feeling. At the very least you offer charm. A bit of magic never hurt a manuscript.
Be careful, though when offering recognizable songs subject to copyright. Do it right or offer a legal glimpse at the lyric or song. (homework here, for those interested.)
Here's a poem I'm fond of from my upcoming novel to be released by The Wild Rose Press. It's about a shuttered, neglected black teenager, locked in her room.

“Black Magic Rose.
Black Magic Rose, pressed in a book dark.
No sunlight to warm, no space to breathe.
No soil to nurture, no wind, no bees.
No garden of friends, just dying memories.
   
Black Magic Rose, the book opens.
She kisses the rose, a tear falls,
Throws away the rose. Closes the book.
With no love, Black Magic Rose dies.
   
To bloom again, in rich sunshine.
Nurturing soil, wind, bees, garden of friends.
Living memories and new ones abound.
A boy picks Black Magic Rose.”

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Odds & Ends


I couldn’t decide what to post this week so I present snippets:
·        1. On the news, I witnessed U.S. Veterans talking to students about heroism. The message across their speeches was the same. Care for the other is heroism. A Viet Vet told of a Vietnamese soldier who covered him on incoming and lost his life. I thought of a simpler thing. When I walk my three-year-old grandson, I pull up my mask when people approach (usually somebody crosses the street.) I was showing them I care about them, even though I’m probably healthy. We all can be heroes if we just save one life by our good example.
·        2.  ABC is airing dramatic summaries of their first two seasons 18 years ago. Many of us have not seen how this iconic and highly rated (Nielson) show got started and perhaps how they improved. Spoiler alert: marriage and kids (later) resulted from the first season of The Bachelorette. Over the years the women have done better than men at picking mates. Are men just dolts?
·        3. The best romance novels have two main points of view because both the man and the woman* are involved in solving the problems they confront in both their inner & outer lives. Guess what, in the end, they must agree, lol. *guy/guy or gal/gal etc.
·        4.  According to Romance Writers of America 9% of romance novels are guys. Is it true that guys rather watch football than make love? Try this at home, if ever we see another football game. Actually, I can’t distract my wife when the NFL is on. 
      
      Tom Hanks talks with a kid president about heroes:

Monday, June 29, 2020

It takes a village


There’s a misconception that writers are loners. They may very well create in a solitary environment, but when they step beyond the first draft, it’s a completely different story. Today’s author uses many more tools than a Hemmingway or Faulkner.
They swap stories for review or have others read it for feedback. They join critique groups and organizations dedicated to their genre or craft. They become immersed in a publisher’s community of authors doing blog tours, and supporting each other in various ways. They reach out to the community of readers, do lectures, social media, tours… Well maybe not tours lately.
You know even Hemmingway and Faulkner and the like had a primitive form of (negative) critique called sniping.
We do better. We seek to encourage the best in our professional acquaintances. We point out weaknesses and strengths with the intent being to make better.
So what are we, introverts or extroverts? Well everybody is different. We are creative. Some of us, artists. We give to the world some badly needed relief from the pounding of bad news every day. Perhaps we’ll tell a story that will uplift, give pause, and promote our better angels. If we're lucky we'll begin to heal festering wounds brought on by injustice in any form. But we'll paint a picture of hope.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Blondes vs. Brunettes


I'll be starting my blog tour as soon as I have a release date from The Wild Rose Press for Cinnamon & Sugar. To get it going I connected with other authors I met at TWRP. Shawna Delacorte's up first on my blog. Her story below is thought provoking, well researched, and funny.

Here it is. Please give her a warm welcome and visit her blog. It's great:

Re-post of Shawna Delacorte's Blog from 2020-06-06

BLONDES VS. BRUNETTES:  STEREOTYPE OR REALITY?

For decades it's been a matter of speculation…possibly even for centuries: blondes have more fun but brunettes are smarter.

Is there any truth to that stereotype? The one that claims blondes are dumb as far as intellect is concerned but have that innate ability to manipulate men with their sex appeal? The one that claims brunettes are by far the more intelligent and capable but lose out in the sex symbol department?

Even Hollywood has played into the hands of the stereotype by making changes in the image they present to the movie going public. In the days of the silent movie, blonde Mary Pickford was the sweet and virginal heroine while brunette Theda Bara was the bad girl sex symbol whose screen persona was the vamp who stole boyfriends and wrecked marriages.

Then in the 1930s the show biz image changed. The blonde became the home wrecking hussy, the gold digging sex symbol while the brunette was either the dutiful wife, the hometown girl-next-door girlfriend, or the uncommon situation of the intelligent woman who stepped out of the housewife mold and pursued a career in the business world as a single woman.

Most of the big screen sex symbols were blondes, a few natural and most from the beauty salon. There were a few brunette sex symbols and the occasional redhead such as Rita Hayworth. Probably the most famous of all time is the iconic Marilyn Monroe whose name became synonymous with sex symbol. Marilyn co-starred with a brunette sex symbol of the time, Jane Russell, in the ultimate blonde vs. brunette movie—the 1953 release of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

But do gentlemen really prefer blondes? Results from a study conducted by the University of Westminster in the U.K. and the Scandanavian Journal of Psychology show something quite different. Their study shows that men actually prefer brunettes. The study was conducted with a woman going to three different nightclubs as a brunette, a blonde, and a redhead to see how many men approached her. She was approached most as a blonde, second as a brunette and least as a redhead. That would seem to prove the gentlemen preferring blondes theory.

However, follow-up with the men in the same three nightclubs showed that the men found her most appealing overall as a brunette. They said she came across most attractive, intelligent, approachable and dependable as a brunette, more temperamental as a redhead, and needy as a blonde. Previous studies had upheld the stereotype by showing that men prefer blondes.

Interestingly, women of all hair colors prefer men with dark hair…another stereotype of heroic tall, dark, and handsome. And apparently that choice applies to female lions as well. Male lions with dark manes are more likely to be pride leaders.

In a different study in 2011 in the U.K., 2000 men were surveyed and blondes were selected as the preference. Then when the same study was conducted in France, U.S., Spain, Italy, and Brazil, the preferred hair color was dark. Psychologists say that women who are not natural blondes usually go blonde because they want to stand out. Since only about 10% of the population are natural blondes, this tactic works.

Hmmm…I guess those psychologists forgot about the mature women who go blonde because it softens their facial features, i.e. makes the wrinkles not as noticeable while not being that mature gray color.

However, old stereotypes die hard. With the current state of the economy, society has observed more blonde women dying their hair dark in order to be perceived as more professional in the work place and thus less likely to be laid off.

And an even more current fact, due to the coronavirus pandemic, with states initiating stay-at-home orders or the more severe lock down situation, beauty salons across the country have been mostly closed. That has made for a varied across-the-board hair color problem.

Interesting Fact:  Natural blondes have significantly more hair than brunettes. Evolutionary science tells us that hair evolved in part to protect our scalp from the sun's rays. With less pigmentation than brunettes, blondes developed more hair to achieve that protective barrier.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Re-post of Shawna Delacorte's blog from June 6, 2020 used with permission

BOB: Actually, and my readers know this, I prefer Asian or islander women with svelte figures, but I have learned over the years not to pre-judge women based on their looks or my preferences. Objectifying them to some personal standard of beauty could mean missing out on a great friendship or something more. But what do I know, I'm married. I observe. By the way, my wife comes from the Philippine islands.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Male romance writers


I was asked to talk about what it’s like to be a male romance writer, by my new friends at The Wild Rose Press. First of all, TWRP is an amazing place to grow in craft and friends, with plenty of support. One of the things I want to do is a blog tour when my novel, Cinnamon & Sugar, comes out. The many authors at TWRP are a ready audience of like-minded souls (who also blog and seek tours), thus making a tour easy.
Being a male romance writer means that I am like-minded with female romance authors. Does this mean that my mind is feminine? No. I have always adored women and suffer from a severe attraction, lol. I feel about them the same way they feel about good-looking guys. Therefore, I write the same when it comes to interior monologues, the arc of the guy and gal. A good writer is a good writer no matter the sex.
For guys reading this, you might question my choice, but I remind you that once upon a time you courted that lady you are married to or living with. Need I say more? Yes, some men prefer action movies and novels to rom coms, but plenty of men read romances and watch rom coms or UP or Hallmark. I don’t buy the idea that I write my romances differently. They are either good or not so good. Two of my romances have won numerous awards. Now, I’m on the verge of publishing my best.
There’s a range in writing in which there is less plot and more interior struggle and visa versa. That is a style difference, and it isn’t unique to one sex.
About prejudice in the romance community against male writers: It exists (barely) and is rapidly diminishing. RWA is doing an amazing job of leading the way forward for multi-racial equity and is against all forms of discrimination.
Once years ago, I was interviewed by a literary agent who asked me why I wrote romance, but not in a nice way. She said her readers were mostly female and she couldn’t take a chance on a guy’s take/style. I thanked her for her honesty. I knew she was disabled by prejudice and would not easily be swayed. I gave up on her and later published Autumn Breeze, which won Best General Romance by the San Diego Book Awards, Assoc. and announced as best novel of the year by Amazon. I think Amazon did that to a number of books, lol.
Women who read romance want the hero to be realistic so that their fantasies become closer to reality. I might not capture every hero, neither would a female writer nail every heroine although we can try. We observe, we learn, and some of us get it right. We’re all human and therefore understanding male and female needs is not all that different and remains necessary to pen a good romance. That’s why I write this blog. I will be taking my insights on the e-road as a series of lectures for RWASD.
I have not come close to exhausting the subject of guys writing romances, but this is enough for now.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Don't Stand So Close to Me


You can repurpose an old song with permission. In romance you can rewrite a classic like Pride and Prejudice and plop it in a modern setting.
Most times, especially now, drama surrounds us and it is our duty to tell tales. I'm busy with other projects with my publisher. But I do write poetry or song.
My point is that nothing is really new, but the twists and style are all yours. So for you and your unique story telling ways, carry on.

Repurposed
Don't Stand So Close to Me
Inspired by The Police
Don’t stand, don’t stand so,
don't stand so close to me.
No covid, please step back.
I want a girl, not flack.
Can’t get there, too far.
I walk by her, can’t meet at the bar.
She smiles. She walks on.
Another day, just dream on.
I go home, try to stay loose.
Try online, what’s the use?

Don’t stand, Don’t stand so,
don’t stand so close to me.
No boyfriend to hold me.
Facetime don’t work, but it’s free.
I want a boy to hold tight.
No one here tonight.
No covid, please pass me by.
No grandma, no grandpa. No goodbye.
So miss them, want to cry.

Don’t stand, don’t stand so,
don’t stand so close to me.


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Love, Work, and Joy


Love is work, but not for some:
Have you ever met a very social, outgoing, empathetic, person who seems to be in a perpetual state of joy? They exist. They’re the friends you need. They’re the ones who are always thinking about you and how they can make you happy. They support you using all the social skills as if they came naturally. Perhaps they do, for them. Some might say they were born to serve. Others will call them angels. I’ll say they make the best leaders, lovers, and mates.
When they walk into a room, everything lights up. They make people laugh. When they love you, it is total. Write a character like this, if you can. Romances are built on change and this person is already the full package. Defeated? No, realize that their minds center around learning as much as they can about the other, so that they may serve. This selfless giving, doesn’t mean they have no goals for themselves. They too want to be loved. They feel and are better when coupled. Being loved in return validates their approach to life.

A word about Memorial Day:
In memoriam, we remember our men and women who died for our country. We celebrate their valor. Celebrate seems like an odd word, yes? Well, after a funeral, we often gather friends and family together. We toast, we remember, we laugh at the corny jokes the departed uttered. We remember their kindnesses, how they touched our hearts. We celebrate their lives. Some in the pulpit will tell you this is a happy occasion, because they are with the Lord. Whether you believe or not, a man or woman doing what they believe in, and sacrificing so that others may live is what fulfilled them.
Happy may be the wrong word to describe this holiday but it is not far from the truth. The fallen would want you to celebrate life so as to honor them and yourselves. After all, that’s why they fought.