What Makes A Romance Rock!?

I would like to introduce my guest today, Yajaira Diaz (she’s adorable!) who is not only my friend but a voracious reader.  She’s coming to you live from sunny So Cal where I was lucky enough to meet her face to face for the first time last month at the RWA Literacy signing.  Good times.  I asked her what it took to make a romance rock for her.  Of course she shared. Check it out.  :)

At this point in my literary life, I think I have pretty much read all the big name romance series out there and then some. It isn’t exactly a good thing, I’ll have you know, because I find that I am now extremely picky with the romances I choose to read. I’m no longer easily swayed by a friend’s recommendation or by a pretty cover.  Though I will admit that when a certain model, (cough-cough, Paul Marron) is on a cover, I do tend to want to buy it just to stare, (and by ‘stare’, I mostly mean drool) at his face. But even Paul with his pretty smile has a hard time persuading me to pick up a book solely based on cover and synopsis.

So, what does make a romance rock for me? What makes me want to read more works written by an author? I pretty much have three major requirements, and they are as followed:

When an author keeps their promises:

Halfway through the book and the hero has repeatedly threatened the heroine with a deliciously sexual punishment if she continues to do a certain thing…let’s say biting of lips or rolling of eyes, and oh how exciting! Anticipation swirls in my belly; any chapter now the hero will deliver said punishment and oh man will it be fantastic!  Two-thirds of the way and I can’t even concentrate on the story, anymore. Every other chapter has him promising to deliver the sexual punishment, but I have yet to see him even attempt it. Now I’m wondering if maybe the author is saving the best for last.  You finish the book and realize they were nothing but empty promises.

A book will lose 1,000 awesomeness points if it does this, so, do not do this. I am serious, I will riot! You promise me a fight, a sexual act, an important conversation and I will hold you to it. Not following through is a major turn off for me.

Realistic dialogue: Fantasy/Fiction does not equal sappy.

We have all been out for drinks with friends and the way you speak around them is very laid back and casual, so unless your characters are from eighteenth century England or are a part of the royal family, “delightfully exquisite” shouldn’t be in their dialogue used to describe the chicken they just had for dinner.  I think even modern day moguls and royals would be okay with saying the chicken was really good.

I have a difficult time becoming emotionally invested in a series or book, where the dialogue sounds like that. I find nothing wrong with an author not choosing to use the hardest, most sophisticated words in the dictionary in their character’s dialogue. Cheesy dialogue has made me give up on series completely. Though I will confess; there is one series that has all kinds of sappy dialogue, but I can’t seem to get enough of it! It’s got way too much slang and way too many overly unrealistic lines, but I love it…Hi J.R. Ward!

Don’t you dare fade the scene out! Dang it, you faded out the scene…

I can’t say I have come across this particular one very often because it’s not the actual fading out of a scene that bothers me, but more the fading out during an important or highly anticipated scene. I don’t expect a fight scene to be gruesome every time, or a sex scene to be explicit, but give me something! Leaving certain things to our imaginations is good and well, but I’m a fan of your writing; therefore, I want to read the way the scene plays out in YOUR mind, so do us all a solid and write out the scene.

All in all, these are the ingredients that make a romance novel float my boat, rock my world…and turn me into an obsessed fan for life. Just ask Karin Tabke, Cj Roberts and Keri Arthur.

Ok, now that I’ve shared my secrets, share yours:  What makes a romance rock for you?

Yajaira Diaz – avid reader.

About Karin Tabke aka Karin Harlow

Award winning author Karin Tabke isn’t just another author with steamy stories to tell, but a cop’s wife who has “seen it all and heard it all.” Karin also writes paranormal romance as Karin Harlow with her L.O.S.T. series hailed as paranormal romantic suspense at its “chilling and sizzling” best.
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18 Responses to What Makes A Romance Rock!?

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Yajaira, you write a great blog with great points. YOU could be a writer.

    I once critiqued a book for a friend, and about two-thirds way through it, I wrote “Does everyone in the book have to be gorgeous?” I didn’t say it in a Wow! way. I said it in freakin’ irritated way. Lucky for me, she took it well and actually thought it was hilarious. About four years later, she mentioned it, laughing at all the gorgeous people in her book.

    So when the heroine is beautiful, smart, rich and healthy, the author had better give the heroine a big problem, because as far as I’m concerned, her life is better than almost everyone I know.

  2. Yajaira Diaz says:

    Edie, thank you so much for the compliment!

    And I totally agree with you. A character cannot be too perfect, otherwise he loses some some of his/her appeal for me. I love my heros flawed, and I would even go so far as to say, I\’ve always had a thing for the ones you\’re not sure if they\’re good or evil. The ones that make you wonder if he\’s gonna save the day or sucker punch the good guys ;) Hmm, Lucian Mondragon from Blood Law and Caleb from Captive in the Dark, would both be a great example.

  3. Paula R. says:

    Yajaira, I really enjoyed your post. You nailed three of the biggest things that make romance rock for me. Other things that make them rock for me are realistic relationships. I love when the getting together is not too easy or the h or H plays hard to get and then decide they really love each other in the last couple of pages of the book. I love to see the characters grow and change with each other as the story progresses as well. I also like to see what is going on in their lives outside of the relationship. Let me see that they are like me in some way, and I am hooked. I have to be able to relate on some level; preferably the emotional one. Once you hook me on that level, am I a goner. I forget that I am a reader and am so immersed in the book, it takes me a moment to remember where I am when it’s done. BDB lover for life here too.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

  4. Yajaira Diaz says:

    Paula, I am with you 100%. While writing this piece, I had to decide which points I wanted to touch, but the connection with the characters is definitely one them. And I understand what you mean by relationships needing to be realistic. That’s another thing I need in my romances; real life relationship drama. Thanks for taking the time to read my piece and thank you for the compliment. Hope to see you again soon! Next RWA, maybe? ;)

  5. Liz Kreger says:

    Hi Yajaira. Great post. Thanx for joining us here at MM.

    I think you hit the high points that I totally agree with. Don’t leave me hanging. Deliver on your promises. And I’m with you in that I’ve become very particular about the authors that I read. I’m no longer lured by a pretty cover and solely on the recommendation of friends. Been burned too many times that way.

  6. I 100% agree with you Yajaira. We do agree on things. Like with Karin Tabke’s books. I want my sandwich. :lol:
    You had some awesome points there. I hate it when an author does not follow through when there is something promised. I love it when the characters have a flaw. No one is perfect. I like to be able to relate to the characters. I have to be able to picture what is really going on otherwise I kinda loose interest.

  7. Amy R says:

    Nice blog post! I dream of meeting my fav authors one of these days! I haven’t been to a signing yet and I live in a little Midwestern town which is a few hours away from any big city where conferences/conventions tend to be held. One of these days! As for what makes a romance rock? If I can’t put it down because I have to know what happens next then I know it rocks. There are many books out there that are really good, but I have no problem choosing the laundry over the book. The ones that make my laundry pile grow because I can’t put a book down is one that rocks. Thanks for the post!

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