Writer & Reader Expectations and Some Ramblings About Romance

It’s funny, when I set out to write Exposed I was worried about a few things. One, that I would weird people out by using a great Welsh word as a safeword. Two, that my usual readers would find it too lighthearted, compared to my usual stuff. Three, that Emyr calling Greg “Daddy” would bother people. That’s what I expected…. and then the unexpected happened: it never once occurred to me that I’d be reading reviews with the words “BDSM”, “Dom”, or “sub” in them. What’s up with that? Did I market the book wrong? I never tagged it as BDSM, never mentioned any kind of D/s relationship, said that it was a little kinky, and told folks it was just a cute love story. What happened?

Just reader expectations, I believe, and ones that I couldn’t predict because I don’t know what they are. I was just saying to a friend that I have a distinct disadvantage when it comes to writing books that are included in a genre I didn’t even know existed until after I published my first book.

The B/l (or Daddy/lg or Daddy/lb) relationships I’ve witnessed in my life were just sweet, loving, and devoted… really nurturing things (with some really silly play …and, yes, occasional spanking thrown in for good measure) and I set out to capture that lovely fondness I’ve admired so much. (And I often mentally hug Greg and Emyr for really getting there!)

But, there were reader expectations with the words “Daddy kink”, (something I tagged it for just as a warning) that I did not know about. And… now I know (and knowing is half the battle! GI Joe... ahem sorry, I’m on cold meds)

So, anyway, next book I write, I’ll see if I can word the blurb a little more clearly to reflect what the book is actually about (or maybe not about?)

Which brings me to Romance in general…

Folks reading Caged keep saying “this isn’t really a Romance” to which I sit there, scratching my head, wondering where they got the idea that it was a Romance. It has romantic elements, for sure. Life does in general, doesn’t it? But Caged? A Romance? Max? A Romance? I don’t even know if Exposed is a Romance. I keep squinting at definitions and wondering what this whole Romance thing is about (disclaimer: I’m aromantic1). It feels far more nebulous a genre than what I read: Has robots? Sci-fi. Has dragons? Fantasy. Has robot dragons? Sci-fi/fantasy. thumbs up

With Romance, well… the requirements seem to depend on who you talk to.

I did read two books that are considered Romance when I was younger. One was called Sea Star: Private Life of Anne Bonny which was pretty rapey if I recall, and the other one was about um… the wild west? I think? Maybe about a doomed love triangle? Also rapey. So, my young adolescent self drew the conclusion that “Romance Novels” equated “rapey”. However, another thing they both had in common was a lot more plot circling around love and sex than I had ever previously read before.

Hey, all my books have plots that focus primarily on the relationship between the protagonists. So… Romance?

And… Novelist Walter Scott defined the literary fiction form of romance as “a fictitious narrative in prose or verse; the interest of which turns upon marvellous and uncommon incidents.” 2

My characters certainly encounter uncommon incidents. So… Romance?

Also from Wikipedia:

According to the Romance Writers of America, the main plot of a romance novel must revolve about the two people as they develop romantic love for each other and work to build a relationship. Both the conflict and the climax of the novel should be directly related to that core theme of developing a romantic relationship, although the novel can also contain subplots that do not specifically relate to the main characters’ romantic love.

Furthermore, a romance novel must have an “emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.” Some romance novel authors and readers believe the genre has additional restrictions, from plot considerations (such as the protagonists’ meeting early on in the story), to avoiding themes (such as adultery). Other disagreements have centered on the firm requirement for a happy ending; some readers admit stories without a happy ending, if the focus of the story is on the romantic love between the two main characters (e.g., Romeo and Juliet). While the majority of romance novels meet the stricter criteria, there are also many books widely considered to be romance novels that deviate from these rules. Therefore, the general definition, as embraced by the RWA and publishers, includes only the focus on a developing romantic relationship and an optimistic ending.

All of my books, including Devil (if you look at it the way I do), focus on the relationships of the MCs and have HFN/HEAs…. So… Romance?

I think, maybe, in the end, that my books are Romance books, but only to folks who don’t have too rigid expectations. When it comes to meeting more stringent do’s/don’ts and customary story development… I will definitely fall short, because I just don’t know what those expectations are. But that’s a-ok! Despite the fact that I write and will continue to write entirely for myself, plenty of other people do enjoy my books, and that is absolutely amazing.

And… for those of you who have actually made it this far in my ramblings, you get a special something because I’m in a great mood today :)


1I’m the kind of aromantic who’d actually like to feel deeply about someone, hence my exploration of love in my books. Heh, it’s like I’m finding love through writing :)

2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_novel

High Praise for Better the Devil You Know!

Guys. I’m really proud of this one. Pardon me while I pat myself on the back a little, k?

From the first delicious, malignant details that set the stage, through the pas de deux of parry and riposte, to the grande finale, Better the Devil You Know will have you by the short and curlies and will leave you in awe. – ★★★★★ ggr-reviews.com

 

This is one of the darkest books I’ve ever read. Parts of it were so disturbing that I don’t even know how to convey the depravity. It is absolutely not for many, but for a certain audience, it is perfection. Better the Devil You Know is horrific, smart and beyond rare. – ★★★★½ Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

 

A wonderful piece of writing from a master of words. Dark, twisted, fucked up – and oh so bloody clever. […] This is clever, pulls no punches and hurts real good. […] The characterization of Byron is brilliant in its monstrosity. – ★★★★★ x3 Boy Meets Boy Reviews

 

What I’ve been waiting for is a novel that would engage and repulse, all at the same time, and Bey Deckard has delivered in a big way with Better the Devil You Know, a perfectly twisted tale that looks at evil through the eyes of a serial killer… – ★★★★★ The Novel Approach

 

Mr. Deckard is a very clever and gifted storyteller who can write a fantastic tale that takes the reader to hell and back. Enjoy the ride! – ★★★★★ KathyMac Reviews

 

Buy it here

Review, Interview, and Giveaway – Caged & Sacrificed featured at Carly’s Book Reviews

Carly says:

“Honestly, it was the amazing cover art that initially caught my eye, but the character dynamic is what kept me reading late into the night. Deckard has a unique writing style that utilizes varying points of view to slip back and forth along the timeline. This works brilliantly, and gives readers a global perspective.”

Read the rest of the review of Caged and Sacrificed, Carly and I chatting about pirates and my writing process, and enter a giveaway for a copy of Caged at Carly’s Book Reviews.

Elin Gregory Highly Recommends Sarge!

Elin Gregory says:

“Now this might seem an odd choice for me because the book is advertised as being unashamedly erotic, with a sizeable dose of kink to boot, and that sort of thing tends to whizz over my head leaving me a bit puzzled what all the fuss was about, but Holy Moly this book was good!”

Read the whole post here.

Happy release day to me!

Do you know what today means? With the launch of Sacrificed, I finally feel good about calling myself a writer.

I’m a writer.

I really am.

And, to prove I’m not just a one-trick pirate pony, I’m publishing an erotic science fiction novelette, Sarge, sometime next week.

Happy release day indeed… just look at these beautiful reviews!

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Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents:

If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would.  5+++ (read more)

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MM Good Book Reviews:

Reuniting with the cast from Baal’s Heart feels like coming home to family and friends. Above all, you will be left breathless in its wake. (read more)

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Prism Book Alliance:

If I start talking about the kinky times we could be here for days, so let’s just say they were amazeballs and leave it at that. (read more)

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Boy Meets Boy Reviews:

Ann: What I find incredibly brilliant about this series so far is the fluid dynamics with the three main characters.

SheReadsALot: These words from this story are filled with so much heart, passion and love of well fleshed out characters, I can’t not rave about them. (read more)

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The Novel Approach gives Sacrificed 5 Stars

Lisa at TNA writes:

“Unlike anything I’ve ever read before, Sacrificed packs emotion, sensuality, adventure, fantasy, and danger into every one of its chapters. Knowing that Captain Baltsaros was a more complex character than was introduced in Caged (and, trust me, he was already plenty enigmatic), Sacrificed takes the reader on a perilous journey to a place ruled by a twisted Emperor who preys on the psyches of Erem’ia Balor’s people. There are truths Baltsaros needs to discover and secrets he and Tom have kept from Jon, and these truths and secrets will either set him free or spell his ruin. You can cut the tension with a knife at times in this installment of the series, while at other times these three men could make the hardest of hearts melt as they attempt to navigate their feelings for one another.”

Read the rest of the review at The Novel Approach

 

Outlaw Reviews gives Caged 9/10 stars!

Nancy at Outlaw Review writes:

“I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with these three men as they fought, loved and hurt. Their many adventures, the steamy sex, and the memorable secondary characters made this story a joy to read. I especially loved the badass Katherine, whose relationship to Jon was almost sisterly and I even liked Baltsaros’ ex-wife, Abetha, who went through changes of her own. Jon’s growth throughout the story was very convincing and well portrayed. He’s a solid character with the right mix of strength and compassion that brings all three men together…”

Read the rest at Outlaw Review

5 hearts from SheReadsALot @ Boy Meets Boy Reviews

Brain derailed this morning due to this:

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When you learn that there is a book that you’ve ached to read about actually written and quite masterfully…

…a treasure. It’s not a book for everyone but hearties….this book was made for me!! *licks pirate sword*

Sometimes it’s hard discussing why a book rocks. There are very few books where I want to just say: ‘eff this reviewing shit, just ‘effing read this ‘effing book! NOW!’ Doesn’t happen to me a lot but when it does I just want to crow from the rooftops.

This.

This is one of those books for me.

This book has heart, actually, hearts (literally and figuratively) and it’s dope. For a first time novel…I was impressed. Is this book going to be for everyone? Hell no. And that’s okay. I’ll love this book enough for the non readers.

Read the rest at Boy Meets Boy Reviews

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Wait… was that a little pink in my cheeks?

Caged – feedback

The reviews of Caged are fascinating. No one ever spends this much time analyzing or discussing my paintings.

I sometimes wonder if I should write a post addressing some of the common issues that people have or wait until someone just asks me why I chose to write it the way I did.

What do authors normally do?

I’ve never been one to write about any of my work. I’d rather leave that up to other people.  I mean – I know my book. I wrote it for me. I feel odd even having left a tiny review of it… for the same reason that I would feel uncomfortable saying to someone: “Hey look at what I’m wearing! Isn’t it well put together? Aren’t my shoes nice?”

Not that I’m interested in defending Caged. I’m really not. I have little interest in that sort of thing in general.  Everyone’s opinion is completely valid in my opinion. I just wonder if folks would benefit from knowing what in the book is done on purpose or if will just leave them scratching their heads even more.

Edit: Though, thinking about it now, I might end up frustrating people if they do ask me questions. I’ve never been good at answering anything straight if I can avoid it:

“Oh… but what do you think it means?”

The Blogger Girls give Caged 4.5 Stars!

JustJen writes: “Wow, where to start with this one. This called to me right away, from the cover and the blurb, it just sounded like my kind of story, and I wasn’t disappointed. It is everything that the blurb leads you to believe and then some….”
Read the Review