Suenammi Richards Romance Headline Animator

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Character Interview: Tobias Freeman from Charter to Redemption

In your relationship with others, how are you different with family than you are with friends? Why?

Friends and family are given equal loyalty. Once I love, my regard is lifelong. 

How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period?

I don't fall in love easily, bit when I do, it's fast and fiery.

What parts of loving come easy for you? Hard?

The need to protect is easy. Giving up and accepting defeat not to easily done. 

How do you decide if you can trust someone? Experience with others? with this person? First impressions? Intuition? Do you test the person somehow? Or are you just generally disposed to trust or not to trust?

I measure a man by his actions and make a decision on that. 

When you walk into a room, what do you notice first? Second?

I note whether friend or foe. An indentured man learns this, I think. 

When you walk into a room, what do you expect people to notice about you?

Well, my height, for starters. 

Describe yourself to me.

A sharp tongue, a quick wit, and a steady arm. 

Is one sense more highly developed than another? (Are you more visual, or audial, etc, or do you rely on the famous sixth sense?)


Did you turn out the way you expected? The way your parents predicted?

I guess they never expected me to be transported. That's a shock for anyone's Ma. 

What really moves you, or touches you to the soul?

The suffering of the helpless. 

What's the one thing you have always wanted to do but didn't/couldn't/wouldn't? What would happen if you did do it?

I'd like to sail a ship, but I haven't had the opportunity. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Not Another Bodice Ripper - The Case for Serious Romance

Romance in general has always prescribed to formulas. Ask any literary agent who religiously sticks to what sells, and any aspiring romance novelist that would like to change things up. Romance novel trends seem to hate change more than any other genre. It is ironic then that it is the category of fiction that needs a makeover the most. However not truly in style, just in the context this style is delivered and perceived.

Romance has always suffered from a fallacy of perception as the people who don't actually read the genre seem to have the most to say about their inefficiency as a viable form of fiction. Yet in their vaulted wisdom of what is literary genius, and what is the lowest common denomination of literary fair, I must broach some fallacies of logic. Most high brow fiction involves some version of a love affair. The difference is usually how sexual interactions are portrayed if they are even portrayed.

I think of some proverbial heavyweights of fiction such as Charles Dickens, Earnest Hemingway, and even Jane Austen. In their stories they seem to have very austere, pre-described, and idealized versions of love being portrayed. This is in some terms a 'clean' ethereal based love that only leaves a mess of the tongue and not of the person in a literal sense. The characters generate more passion for misplaced ideas than they do for the presence of another. Is it this sense of high dungeon that produces literary excellence?

In some instances in Hemingway's work for example there are clear overtones of a consuming misogyny as women can be easily trapped in a box and label of a mother, or a whore. It's always painfully Freudian when they end up as both, and thus rendered perfect. Yet this somehow manages to always be observed as part of the literary genius. The analogous representation of the purity of story because of the personalization of sexuality that is hardly ever actually realized just theorized.

In some ways I believe the bias towards romance is a much deeper seated issue of humanity's perception of itself. The baser instincts of mating that romance points out are seen as 'immature' and 'unrefined' for many. Physical desire is usually seen as an indication of a simple beast instead of a hallmark of one in tune with the nature of whom and what it actually is. Human beings are mammals, and in many situations that animal instinct and urge is much more reliable in choosing a mate than a pros and cons list. The feeling is that romance makes absurd assumptions about this level of attraction and magnetism. That this 'animal' urge cannot be the basis to eventually grow into a deep and abiding love because love is something of a human nature, and not an animal one.

People with pets will tell you how well animals know love. Better sometimes than other human beings. They don't go with logic that their love will be returned. They operate on instinct, sometimes presenting themselves to an owner unsolicited on the street. This is how they love. Why is the idea that human love can be similar so seemingly odd? Or maybe they just have issues with the sex.

Love is a personal endeavor no matter how universal television commercials would like it to seem. The nature of it is idealized for some, and wide open for others. The truth is when writing about something as profoundly intimate as love, it is really bad form to try and relate love in another voice or fashion other than your own. The truth and charm to a story comes from that bit of truth that is included. That bit of truth is the relatable aspect of any story. This is the core of your own voice as a writer. Regardless of how many people 'understand' your character's plight or not, the truth of the situation will ring forth and give the story just the push it needs to really fly.

With that in mind it is very bad form for generalists to assume that a certain plotline or story premise is in line with any pre-described social agenda. The liberation of women was just that, liberation. Liberation is the right to make choices. A woman can decide if she would like to be a public figure or a private one. A woman can choose to vote, bear children, and get married or not. The claim that the creation of or reading of romance somehow 'tricks' women into believing in self destructive rhetoric is almost more offensive than any other misogynic claim as it actually feeds into the myth that women are incapable of processing thought beyond what they know to be a fictitious account.

In laymen's terms, the claim in essence says that a grown woman is not capable of separating fantasy from reality. This is a claim usually attached to mental illness, and honestly makes light of conditions suffered by those who have legitimate hormonal imbalances, injuries or birth defects that are associated with mental illness. Reading romance is not an illness. Also it no more detracts from feminist prose as it would add to it. With that being said, no romance is the same. Like all forms of entertainment and media there are levels of content. No two books actually read the same.

The romance formula is very easy to follow. Usually two people, and in recent entries sometimes more, have a great potential for a romantic relationship. They must confront each other and often times the results are not initially positive. That is because of individuality. This is an aspect of romance that is explored more than it is in some of its traditional fiction contemporaries. You have the dichotomy of a relationship as opposed to the relationship being a side car to the dichotomy of the story. In the end the essence of the story is to confront relationship boundaries and expose them. This is a very emotional plane of existence that can sometimes hold the same trauma as a tragedy. And it should. Love is a life changing event. Seeking to experience it, and be bound to another person for all time is also a life changing event. As far as I know not a single life changing event has ever gone quietly and without lessons in humility and shame. These are human emotions that bear the weight in most situations. Yet in love they are the core of what this entanglement is about.

The way a writer creates this is wide open. This sense of growing affection and intimacy is developed from one thing and one thing only, seeing the person for who they are and loving them because or despite it. This is a truth that romance novelists understand that is rarely examined in most contemporary literature where relationships seem to be of convenience and not of necessity. Others are forced attachments where the characters are bound by seemingly invisible tendrils of emotion that are strong enough to bond yet not strong enough to carry the story.

To some degree the emergence of more acceptable contemporary popular fiction, and the need to be perceived a certain way by others has taken the blush from the rose as far as sweeping love relationships are concerned. Romance novels have long been the butt of literary jokes and recently in a twisted parody of art imitating life some have even endeavored to live up to this reputation of being incomprehensible smut with bad punctuation and grammar. But what are the far reaching consequences to this? This seeming end to fairytale as it were that now blocks the heart from even seeking some idealized contentment. Is it this lack of 'romance' being taken seriously in day to day life that has enabled a lack of respect for sex, marriage, and all romantic relationships? Has the 'replaceable' mate taken the place of the 'irreplaceable' mate?

Today more than ever in a world of revolving doorlike changes we need the purity of actual romance.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Of Love and Madness

It wasn't desperation, couldn't be desperation that makes me act.
It wasn't confusion, couldn't be confusion that makes me wait.
It wasn't masochism, couldn't be masochism that makes me hold on.

The thoughts swirl and mix.  Chemistry of the brain the scientists will call it.  This gland secretes this fluid, and the reaction is love.  This gland releases this hormone, and the change is lust. This enzyme is allowed to run free in your brain, and it manufactures hate. So very simple is it, in the end the things that power a being to move.  So very simple.

Your brain sends this signal, and your heart rate speeds up.  Your synapses process this change, and respond to make your sweat glands react. This reaction takes away from another, and your mouth goes dry.  This dryness triggers a response that dilates your eyes. The process for fear takes movement from your limbs.  The fluid secreted to minimize your movement and maximize your senses. Your senses expand making everything clearer.  Sense of taste, smell, sensation, hearing, even sight to tell the brain how next to respond.  What fluid to secrete. What enzyme to release. What sense to expand. What action to take next.  It's all a biological process that is easy to explain.  Why you feel the way you do.

Why do I feel the way that I do?  What process triggers that? What fluid is released and secreted? What change has happened to cause this to occur? Where did this start?  Not from a thought, not from a moment, no stimulation on my part.  It was the other one that started this.  What did they do to inject such intensity. Why with a look can the world shift on its axis?

The science explains nothing. Instead just confirms my madness. It's incomplete this definition. Without a proper point of entry.  The big bang theory on love. It just happened without an impetus without a cause. There has to be another place, another wall; a path we haven't seen.  There has to be another channel another space that we can't perceive.

It wasn't desperation, couldn't be desperation
It wasn't confusion, couldn't be confusion
It wasn't masochism, couldn't be masochism

Does the oxygen in the air thin when they arrive?  The levels of carbon dioxide become greater, and takes away from the air quality. Maybe they exude a pheromone that causes my tongue to swell. Perhaps they have altered my gravity setting off an unerring chain reaction in my head; the brain seeks to protect itself from the heightened levels. Too much iron in their blood causing a magnetic response. Water, of course, they have lower or higher levels of water in their system. The hydrogen makes me light headed. It is a volatile element always on the brink of exploding.

Nonsense, foolish tripe, driveling nonsense. The elements don’t react that way.  The human form is not only a body.  It is a body, connected to a controlling conscious mind driven by an unseeable unphantomable force called a spirit. I would reason that while the body is ruled by the mind, and the mind has made itself a slave to reason, this spirit knows nothing of logic.  Logic this construct of man to give reason focus, and to relegate emotion to fantasy.  Something to sometimes indulge, but never take too seriously.  After all it bears no true weight and meaning.  And yet it explains all else that logic can't.

It wasn't desperation
It wasn't confusion
It wasn't masochism

I must call it madness. That's what any sensible human being calls it when it doesn't have a logical explanation.  Only that which is logical is sane.  Correct. . It wasn't...  Correct, logic is the only true answer.  In logic is reason, and reason has justification, reason has . . .  It wasn't . . . has the essence of life.  We have created so much on the back of reason. . .It wasn't is just this fanciful idea. It's a theoretical theological myth. . . It wasn't . . . love doesn't happen this way in an instant.  It is cultivated over time, between two people with a wealth of common goals and interests and they. . . It wasn't  . . love each other because it's practical and beneficial.  That thing was just a chemical response, physiology and such . . . it wasn't. . .love.  It wasn't love, how could it be love. How could it be love?

How could it be anything but love?