Archive for October, 2015

What IS Romance, Anyway? Curious Minds Want To Know…

Good evening, lovely reader!

Yes, I’ve been a bit remiss in posting. I think it’s been fourteen days since I last put something to the boards. Yikes! I’ll be better, promise.

Frank’s still away in the Bahamas and yet to send me a postcard. Ah well, he deserves a vacation.

In the meantime, Francine and I have been getting to know one another. Which is why I’ve not written a description. I will soon, but for now, updates will have to do until I have a more clear picture. She’s pretty awesome, I can tell you that much.

I crossed the 60K word mark today, something I’m quite proud of. The story is solid, the pieces falling into place and now it’s into transitions and more of the sensual parts. I’ve saved those for last, leaving markers where they should appear in text. Francine’s really interested to see what comes from those, seeing that is why she took the job. Now that we’ve met and begun writing together, they should fit quite nicely.

Okay, to the main event: Romance. Oooh lala!

Have you ever looked it up the word Romance in wiki or some other dictionary? Rather disappointing if you ask me: “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.” OR “a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.”

Seriously? A feeling or a quality? Seems a bit too tiny if you ask me.

So, while walking with a friend of mine through autumn-stained forests  here in British Columbia, we discussed what Romance meant to me, how I would describe it and why that was so important to define.

You know? It took a few minutes (okay, several minutes) to come up with something deep and meaningful. Sure, it’s easy to say, ‘love,’ but after writing more than 60% of a novel about it, I felt I should have a more complete grasp; something with substance. One I could describe to Oprah or to Ellen when I’m invited onto their shows to talk about my not-yet-published but absolutely fabulous romance novel.

Here are some of the words that came out. Unabridged, unedited and completely from memory.

Energy between two people. Connection. Connective, reflective energy that builds as people move closer to one another. Emotional energy of connection creating passion for life, for self and one another – reflected back and forth until the two become one.

The list went on and on, but one thing was clear. The word connection & energy appeared to be the ties that bound them all together. My friend agreed, though she added many more words as she often does.

Think about what Romance means to you.

I would guess that for every person who answers, each will have their own definition. It’s a huge genre, that’s for sure. As large as the word LOVE, in fact – conceptual with multiple, possibly an infinite number of meanings.

FOR ME, whether it be between people or a person & place – connection is key. And it must be shared, reflected if you will, like a mirror shows you for you. Except in romance, the mirror is the other person and YOU are seen through them. The energy created in that reflection builds a bond; a connection. And, as that energy intensifies, the connection becomes the stronger and the two move closer.  Finally, the energy builds, intensifies until the two become one.

So there you have it, romance fans! My very own definition in less than one hundred words. If that is too many for you, then might I offer this: “Emotional energy of connection, creating passion for life, for self and another – reflected back and forth until the two become one.”

I can live with that. Someone call Ellen. I’ll be ready by the end of November, when I expect to finish first draft.

Fair Winds and Following Seas, my lovely readers, Wherever your horizons beckon…

Stephen R. Gann

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Frank, My Ideal Reader, Takes a Holiday. What Now?

Hello Lovely Reader!

Frank, my ideal reader, has left for the Bahamas, taking a holiday after reaching the halfway point of our novel. I’ve moved well beyond 50K words and plowing toward 60. It took sixty four days to reach the halfway point, though only portions of that was spent writing. I fully expect to finish by the end of November, if not before.

So why did Frank go? Why did he give up the free coffee and head for the beach just when we’d crossed the downslope?

I found out yesterday while I prepared to write at my little corner table inside Steveston’s fabulous coffee and bookstore: Village Books.

“Stephen, my boy,” he said, offering me a bag of Kicking Horse coffee beans, the dark roasted variety called, 454.

“I’ve done all I can for you in this romance novel of ours.”

“What?” I said, mouth dropping open in shock. I took the beans, noting that a card was attached with a red, silk ribbon. If I’d know he was leaving, I’d brought a gift, too.

“What do you mean? We’re just getting to the good stuff!”

“That’s the point, kiddo,” he replied, kicking his booted feet atop my table at Village Books. Fortunately, no one noticed. “The good stuff’ll need a different ideal reader if you want it to connect.”

“Ah,” I said, nodding. I had wondered if this might be the case. Apparently, I was correct. I took a sip of my maple macchiato.

“Please, continue.”

He smiled, hoisting his mug of dark roast. “I talked to a friend of mine,” he said. “And she’s willing to sit in for me, so you don’t feel so alone.”

“Willing to meet her?”

“Hell yea!” I said, leaning forward. “What’s her name?”

“Francine,” he said, sipping his coffee and smiling at me over the top of the mug. “She’ll be here in a few moments.”

“You’re going to introduce me, right?” I mean, I’m sort of shy. I don’t just walk up to random women and invite them to be my ideal reader. Surely he understood that.

He shook his head. “Nope,” he said. “I can’t be seen here, or she’ll get suspicious.”

Oooh, I thought. That sounds intriguing. What did he mean by suspicious? My mind went to thoughts of a hot, torrid affair that Frank might be a part of. That sly…

“Ah,” I said, choosing not to ask.

“She knows who you are,” he said. “She’s accepted the job and will meet you here.” He took a final sip, then placed his mug on the table.

“Well, lad,” he said, pushing his chair away from the table with a screech.

“I’m off for sunnier climates. Keep going, work with Francine, and I’ll catch up when you’re done.”

Tears formed in the corner of my eye as I watched him stand.

“You’re really going?”

He nodded, hoisting his courier bag atop his shoulder as he pushed the chair back under the square, wooden café table.

“Not for good,” he said. “Just for now.”

“Connect with Francine. She’ll give you what you need.” As he walked toward the door, he turned and tipped his hat.

“Adios, amigo!” he exclaimed. “Write on, brother! Right on!”

He vanished through the door as I stared, watching him fade into the setting sun of sugar white sands and green, rolling waves. But not alone, I noticed, smiling to myself.

Two kids, a bikini-clad woman and a fluffy, black dog joined him on the beach, gathering together to wave back at me.

“Thank you,” the voices whispered from the fading scene, and even the dog barked a farewell. For now.

“Thank you, Frank,” I whispered, daubing my eyes with a paper napkin. “Thank you for everything.”

Sighing, I flipped open my Surface and opened to the document about Simone, imagining the scene as I stepped forth into the writing. She was about to experience tragedy, and I really needed to connect with the horror in order for you, my lovely reader, to experience it.

Bells jingled from the Village Book’s door, drawing my eyes toward the sound – hearing the click of thin, spiked boot heels upon the concrete floor.

“Hello,” a raven haired woman said to me, standing by the chair that Frank had recently vacated.

“I’m Francine. Mind if I join you?”

Fair Winds and Following Seas my lovely reader, wherever your horizons beckon.

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