Monday, January 26, 2015

Eros and Psyche : The Heart and Soul of Romance

The story of Psyche and Eros is the archetype of all romance literature. The characters symbolize the soul (feminine) and body (masculine) wed in a divine love affair.

Psyche is the most beautiful being in all creation, the epitome of womanhood. She even outshines the Goddess of love. Eros is smitten by her beauty and falls in love with her. They are married, but Psyche isn't allowed to see Eros because, she is told, he is a hideous monster. But she falls in love with him anyway because he is so kind and loving. (Beauty and the Beast? Bad boys in modern literature?)

Her sisters convince Psyche that the monster which has seduced her will eventually kill her if she doesn't kill him first. She goes with a weapon and a lamp to sneak up on him and slay the beast, but in the light she sees his true beauty. Eros is angry and flies away. He is imprisoned by his jealous mother. Psyche seeks him and must complete impossible tasks. The last task poisons her (sleep) and Eros must come to her rescue. (Sleeping Beauty? Alpha Males and Billionaires?)

They of course live Happily Ever After or it wouldn't be a romance, right?

From a psychological perspective it is easy to see why these archetypal characters dominate romance literature. They are hardwired in our psyche. It is why women fall in love with heroes and men fall in love with heroines. If our characters don't conform to these archetypes they seem strange and stilted. The hero must, in some way, be Eros and the heroine must be Psyche.

We could just as easily say David and Bathsheba or Romeo and Juliet or Clair Randall and Jamie Fraser. Though Romeo and Juliet is technically a tragedy. But you can name a hundred romances and they would all conform to the Eros and Psyche archetypes, even real life romances. It's who we are, how our heart and soul live as one. We recognize it in literary characters and it touches us, drawing us in, and making us part of the story.

I could write volumes on the emotional and psychological triggers at play, but that isn't important for this post. Look at your characters. Can you see Eros in your male lead? Is your female lead Psyche incarnate? Do they suffer for their love? Do they fight insurmountable obstacles? Do they stand together when the whole world is against them? Do they pull apart, but long to be together?

These are all classic threads in Romance. If your story doesn't have them it is lacking the Heart (Eros) and Soul (Psyche) of romance and readers will feel that.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Will 2015 be the Year of Fahrenheit 451?

A lot has changed in the literary world over the last few years. But the brick-and-mortar book stores are still there. The brick-and-mortar publishing houses are still there. Books are still books. People still read. Well, maybe not as much, and the Seven Sisters are now the Big Three Media Conglomerates, and most of the independent book stores are closed, and the big guys are selling online...

One of the big stories this year is the eBook bubble. The exponential growth of the eBook market reached its peak. Just about everyone who wants an e-reader has one now. During that market growth, and everyone filling those new e-readers with cheap books, many authors found a quick buck writing short and fast. .99 cent books were all the rage and making your book free could take you to the top of the charts on Amazon.

Market analysts say the free ride is over. The bubble is bursting. No more free lunch. It's going to be harder to sell an eBook in 2015 and almost impossible to get a book deal with a NYC publisher if you don't already have one. Publishing is dead! ebook sales are imploding. We're too busy to read. YouTube and Facebook are the new media. So I guess we should all start writing scripts for YouTube videos and memes for Facebook posts.

They said the same about paperbacks. There was such a glut of new authors the Beatles wrote a song about it! It leveled out. That's what is happening now. It's leveling out. Good literature will always be good literature. If you're just out to make a buck, maybe you should get a YouTube channel. If you want great literature to survive, keep writing. You may not get rich, but these days anyone can publish and who knows? Ten years from now you might be the next Poe. He didn't sell well, you know?

I've neglected my blog over the last few years, but I'm back and there are tons of great books to read and review. There's also the ever changing e-publishing industry to explore. Amazon and B&N are making it easier than ever to publish in print and with book printing kiosks already being used your book can be printed on the spot! That sounds like more paper books to me, not less. The future of publishing is still bright. And as writers, we just keep getting new ways to share our work!

Here's wishing everyone a creative and prosperous New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

You Need a Gift? and It's Three Days 'Til Christmas?

A lot of us shop online these days and a lot of us have friends spread all over the planet! It's so convenient picking out a gift on Amazon and shipping it straight to your buddy in Madagascar, right? So what do you do when it's Three Days 'Til Christmas and you forgot someone? It's too late to ship!

No it isn't. Santa Max is here to help.

Kindle books ship instantly across the internet. They can arrive as soon as you hit the buy link. It's like being Santa! You can gift people all over the planet on Christmas Eve and still have time for eggnog. Seriously! So this year Santa Max is going to help you out.

First off, my book .45 Caliber Jitterbug is absolutely FREE on Kindle—today through Friday. So there's a free and easy gift for you!

Now let's look at some amazing author pages that can meet all of your last second shopping needs whether you need a book for your editor's teenage kid or something hot and spicy for that guy or girl you met in Kuala Lumpur. (Or just something for yourself—you've shopped hard, you deserve it)

Rachel Thompson writes an eclectic mix – if you're an author or anyone wanting to use social media effectively she's your go-to-redhead, she also writes side splitting humor in the Mancode books, and beautifully poignant true life stories in Broken Pieces (in my opinion her best).

Cali McKay writes awesome contemporary romance about billionaires and Scottish Highlands. Anyone who loves romance will love these—and the first book in each series is FREE. Another free and easy gift!

Eden Baylee writes exotically erotic romance and recently ventured into mystery with an amazing who-done-it Stranger at Sunset. She should be on everyone's gift list!

If you have a really naughty friend they will love Casey Sheridan. She writes some of the hottest erotic romance out there. (Fast cars and faster women!) You have been warned (or hooked up).

Need something for the boss's kid? That niece or nephew you forgot (You D i d n 't!) Check out Gae Polisner for some teen literature that isn't vampires or wizard schools—it's real life road trips and teens being teens.

Anyone will love L.M. Stull (aka Lisa M. Gott) from chick-lit, to poetry, to short stories, her literary style is beautifully classic. You really should read her work!

Okay! There's half-a-dozen amazing authors, each with multiple books to chose from. That should fill anyone's last second Christmas shopping needs. And of course I have to throw my own author page in there too. It's in the user agreement, or contract, or something. I have several books too, you know!

Maxwell Cynn – mix of books from cyber erotic fantasy, to dystopian psychological thriller, to prohibition era cozy romantic mystery. And then there are more on!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night READING!