Bridgerton, Romancelandia, and the Masses

Can we talk abut Bridgerton on Netflix for a moment?

Some of the criticism coming about season 2 is that there isn’t enough sex. Not enough graphic, raunchy sex scenes to satisfy all the new people who have discovered Romancelandia (a term coined by those people who religiously read romance novels). Or that those not affiliated or tuned into the romance domain don’t understand why there are new people in season 2. These clearly come from people who don’t read a lot of romance, especially not the Julia Quinn novels these are based on. Let’s take these criticisms one at a time. We’ll start with the second since this is pretty easy to address.

The reason that there are new people, is because that’s the way Romance novels/series are set up. Each book has it’s own HEA (happily ever after) and their story is done. Oh sure, you might see them pop up in a future book in the series as a check in to remind people of their favorite characters, but for the most part their story is done. The series moves on to a different person in the family, a friend, etc. These new characters are always laid out in previous books, dangling them before you like a carrot. That’s how you get sucked in to the next book. I, personally, always wait for the broken ones. I’m a sucker for some hero/heroine that doesn’t think their good enough and those are always my favorites. Hence the reason i’m waiting patiently for Eloise and Penny’s seasons on Netflix.

Yes, I already know they’re going to get their guy but the journey is part of the fun.

You don’t normally see a series of books with the same main character in Romance. That happens in Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense, or those types of books where the Romance is NOT the main element in the book. These can follow the same couple over many books and may end with a HFN (happy for now) situation but the character, plot, and romantic arcs are much bigger than your typical romance. In these books the plot and character arcs are the main focus but these can be some of the most rewarding. Ilona Andrews does this in her Kate Daniels and Hidden Legacy books, as well as Kim Harrison in the Hollows books. My own books are tailored after this model. The Blushing Death Series and the Blood and Bone Legacy are definitely a HFN series.

However, Kresley Cole (whose books are legitimately like crack) is a master of the paranormal romance where each book is a different couple and has an HEA for each but the larger arc is also in play. In the IAD-Immortals After Dark-books, the HEA is the most important and the larger arc is just cake.

Let’s take the first criticism now, the lack of sex. I think we need to talk about a few things first.

In Romance books, there are quite a few classic tropes that can be the basis for the plot and everyone has their favorite. There are more but these are the most common:

  1. Friends to lovers – this is where people have been friends for a very long time and somthing changes and they discover they want to bone. Penny/Colin.
  2. Second Chances – think divorced couples or reuniting lost loves
  3. Pretend Relationships – First half of Season 1 of Bridgerton
  4. Forced Proximity – Second half of Season 1 of Bridgerton
  5. Destined to be together – this takes place in paranormal alot with fated mates. This is manifested with a lot of Alpha males yelling MINE
  6. Forbidden love – you all know what this means although don’t get gross with it. More like outside your social strata, your race, your religion, etc.
  7. Love Triangles – 3’s a crowd. Think Twilight
  8. Enemies to lovers – This is what we have in Season 2 of Bridgerton.

So, the enemies to lovers thing is all about the steam, the anticipation, the rising passion as they get over their initial dislike of each other and get down to the animal attraction and passion underneath. You’re not going to spend the entire show banging somone you hate. That’s revenge sex and that’s completely different. So, instead, we have a lot of fighting, misunderstandings, heat, and sexual tension.

Now, it’s my understanding that the book makes a shift from Friends to Lovers to Forced Proximity with the bee incident about half way through (I can not verify this since I haven’t read this particular series. I don’t like to mix book and tv/movie if I like one. I’m always disapointed in something). However, I could see where the show runners sat back and said, that’s too close to season 1, let’s draw this out a bit.

I don’t mind the anticipation and the build up, but the payoff better be worth it. I think where they went wrong was in season 1 and laying the ground work for the Viscount’s story. They set up the vicount as in love with the opera singer and ready to run away with her, thereby shirking his duty as the heir. So, the dramatic turn around of him ready to fulfill his duty and get married, produce an heir, etc seemed a bit forced. We needed a bit more ground work to make that believable. A conversation could have done that for us or maybe the opera singer’s death, marraige, etc. Something to take this other woman out of the picture permanently and his realization that that dream was now over and he had to move on. There was some resignation evident but, I was left wanting. That’s my own personal preference.

Vacation Brain

I’m currently on vacation right now. At this very moment I’m at Disneyland. Wait, that’s not true. There’s a time difference. I’m probably getting ready or if I’m lucky still sleeping. I doubt that last one though.

So to take thank you for showing up, and to take your mind off the fact that I’m having fun in California and DISNEY, here are some cute pictures of our kittens (not so much kittens anymore).

And if that wasn’t enough, then here’s a tiny snippet to tide you over until May 4th when Infinite Azure is released.


“Baby . . . I can’t,” he said.

Turning, I stared at the pain in his green eyes and as much as it broke me, a blaze of anger burned through me too. “Can’t what?” I asked, suddenly indignant at this idea that he would make me feel guilty for doing what had been necessary. “Can’t stand that I made a decision without you? That I made the hard decision to save you instead of myself?” I said through gritted teeth. Warmth streamed down my face and as I tasted salt, I realized I was crying. “Can’t handle that faced with the idea of Baba Yaga getting her hands on you and using you to get what she wanted was something I couldn’t live with? Please help me because I need to understand what you can’t.”

“I can’t watch you die again,” he said, every word a knife in my gut.

“Dean.” I wanted desperately to make him feel better but there wasn’t anything I could do, really, to ease his sense of helplessness. “I’m sorry for a lot of things but not that I got the men I love out of there. You would have done the same.”

His green eyes flashed the bright blue of his wolf and I realized that at the base of all of his anger and hurt was the knowledge that he or Patrick would have done the same exact thing.

“That’s it, isn’t it? You would have done the same thing. Patrick would have done the same. Any one of us would have done exactly what I did to save the others,” I said, choking up as the words tumbled out of my mouth. “And that means we’re all compromised.”

You’re welcome! Just remember, I’m at Disney having a great time.

Frazzled & On Edge

I feel frazzled.

I feel exhausted.

I feel stressed. We’re leaving for vacation next week and I have all of this prepping/packing/preparing that has to be done. Because if I didn’t do it, they would just throw shit in a bag and then bitch later about why this or that wasn’t packed.

I feel annoyed listening to the woman in the office next to me cough up a chunky wet lung and breathe as if she’s just run a mile.

I feel irritated that I have three separtate salon appointments on three different days because I had to work around my daughter’s schedule, my husband’s schedule, and the salon schedule. The only person’s schedule that didn’t seem to matter was mine.

This week has been rough.

Monday – I forgot my lunch. Then when I ordered food to be delivered, the driver got lost. It could have been that someone gave me the wrong address. I’m not blaming anyone…not really. Okay, I’m blaming her hard core.

Tuesday – Remembered by lunch but forgot a fork. My lunches are corn, green beans, carrots, and a salmon filet. I need a utensil for that and there wasn’t a single plastic one laying around. What office doesn’t have emergency utensils left over from some THING that they did before?

Wednesday – I can’t get the fucking USPS site to work so I can stop our mail for next week. It won’t let me choose a date and GOD DAMN IT, this should be a simple task. Nope!

That’s just a taste of how my brain is functioning and the shit revolving around me at the moment. I’ve been falling asleep pretty hard at the end of the night and although, I’m glad I’m sleeping pretty hard – I don’t like feeling exhausted mentally.

I feel like I have to be all things for all people. I’m not sure you can burn the candle at both ends and the middle but if you could, I’d be doing it right now.

I have a book coming out next month. Actually in a month, on May 4th (May the 4th be with you) and I have no idea what the fuck is going on. I know I paid for a book tour but, that’s about it. Oh shit! I need to put out a newsletter – thank you for joining me in my stream of consciousness as my brain implodes!

I haven’t written anything new in a few months now. The time just keeps slipping away with other things and I can’t keep focused. ARGH! It’s very frustrating.

Get organized, you might say. I am the most fucking organized person you could possibly meet. The problem is that the things needing my attention are all over the damned place and popping up all the time.

If you feel like this post is disjointed, welcome to my life at the moment. There will come a moment when I completely shut down. Where my brain and body just say – NOPE – and I’m left in the fetal position in a corner somewhere babbling nonsense. So, I’ve got that to look forward to.

Disney Bound

We’re going to both Disneyland AND Disney World in the next two months. Okay, judge all you want but I’m excited. I’m going to get so many ears! I put them up on my wall like Willie Mays Hayes from Major League without the horrible air brushing on the wall.

Still photo from Major League

I have zero shame here. A few of these are Scarlett’s, but it doesn’t matter. Most of them are mine. You know what. I don’t have enough holiday themed ears. I need to go back during the special Halloween and Christmas themed dates to get more!

Part of the fun of Disney…for me at least is the planning. Disney is alot of pressure to get the reservations you want at the time you want. Sure, you could just go and not do any of that but I want to eat in Cinderella’s castle DAMMIT! I want to have dinner with the Evil Queen from Snow White and that shit takes time, patience, AND planning.

The trip to Disney World involves 12 people. Getting people what they want, when they want it is a feat of planning that will try even my skills. Today was my first day to be able to schedule for Magic Kingdom and I’m already locked out. I have a feeling this time around is going to be an uphill battle. Usually, we’re staying at the resort, which means that our entire stay opens up for me. We’re not staying at the resort this time so the days are opening up one at a time. This means that anyone who has a resort reservation beginning that Sunday or Monday, is already in there scheduling. This isn’t looking good, especially for some of the more unique experiences.

I’m not new to this Disney adversity. I am tenatious and persistant. With the amount of people I’m scheduling for, i may not get EVERYTHING. However, I’ll give it my best shot. Even though, I should really be doing other things…such as writing.

The trip to Disneyland is just the three of us and is in little over a week. I have done zero planning or bookings, mostly because I don’t know enough about Disneyland to know the cool things to do. I’m hoping to get a set of ears from the Avengers campus since they don’t have that at Disney World. I like them to be unique.

March Madness 2022

This is my annual bitch session where I complain about how bad I’m doing with my bracket and the tournament overall. So, here we go.

My bracket is officially a piece of flaming shit.

This is a bunch of horseshit too because I’m the one in the house who actually watches the damned games.

I’m the bottom line in my group of two (Ross and me). Fucking 30th percentile. And this was before the games last night! GOD DMAN IT GONZAGA! You had one job. Every year, Ross wins and he doesn’t even watch anything! This year…nobody wins.

Plus, my Buckeyes lost in the second round. It wasn’t unexpected since they were playing Villanova but I still had hope. Especially when they brought it to within two points late in the game. Villanova is a great team and they gave it everything they had but still came up short. Maybe next year.

I love March Madness time. I don’t give a shit about football, or hockey, or baseball, or the NBA. College Basketball is on my calendar every year. I’m the idiot watching St. Mary’s games in October and November.

This year, I didn’t get to go sit at the bar with my friends to watch multiple games at the same time and talk trash. I’m really good at talking trash. It’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s a gift.

Usually, each year, I’m the only person with a vagina sitting at the table, mocking my friends for making prissy drink orders or rediculous substitutions. These are actual things I’ve heard around the table:

Can you cook my wings for 18 minutes? Not 21, that’s too long.” – after this bombshell, an entire conversation took place about how long certain BW3 restauarants around town cooked their wings. It was like being in the Twilight Zone.

I’ll have a Smirnoff Ice.” – this from a grown ass man in his late 30’s.

If I eat that, i’ll feel it later.” – that shit doesn’t apply during March Madness. You eat it and suffer the consequences later. That’s just the way it is.

I missed all that shenaniganry this year. I have a new job and I couldn’t afford to take several vacation days only two weeks into starting. So I missed all the trash talking, all the mocking from people who’ve I’ve known for 20+ years.

I didn’t miss all of it. I got some of it over text message

Don’t judge me and my screenshots OR editing the photos. I’m still learning how to do shit on my new gigantic new Galaxy S22+. It’s a damned monster.

So, there you have it. Even though I couldn’t be there to give them shit in person. I still managed to do it via text. It’s not the same for sure, but still makes me feel like I’m part of the group.

Fates Mates and Podcasts

I’ve started listening to the Fated Mates podcast on Audible with Sarah MacLean and Jen Prokop which is a romance oriented podcast that started out discussing Kresley Cole IAD books and branched out. This is why i started listening . . . I love Kresley Cole. She is a must purchase in multiple formats whenever a new book comes out. Don’t judge me. I need them in physical form for my bookshelf, cause I do. AND I need the audio because Robert Petkoff is a GOD. Here’s a sample.

These books are like crack because once you stop, you won’t be able to stop. I stumbled upon this podcast by accident and was between books. Actually, I wasn’t ready to start the 49 hour sludge through Diana Gabaldon‘s Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone…especially when I know that nothing exciting happens. So, I figured why not.

But GOD DAMMIT, I’ve gone down a rabbit hole and haven’t been able to come out. This is precisely the reason I don’t listen to Podcasts when there are thousands of books out there that I would love to listen to.

Side note: I am fully aware that if I go down the true crime podcast road, I may never come out. I’m fucked up that way, perferring murder to a lot of other things. Those podcasts, I don’t date touch. Also, i get super judgy about murder; like – man that guys an incompetant murderer. Or that’s not enough trauma to justify those actions, dude.

Now I’m involved in the shenanigans of these two hilarious women and I can’t get out. I’m just glad that I was alone when one of them referred to a succubus being poisoned by the sex she was having as “suffering from the dick flu” because I cackled like a fiend.

Another side note: I relayed this story to Ross and when I started explaining the context of the succubus being poisoned by the sex she was having, he literally rolled his eyes back in his head.

Sarah and Jen (I use their first names like I know them…I don’t) talk about feminism, sex, writing as a craft but also as fans, and take a deep dive into each book or topic.

There are several books that I’ve gone back into after their podcasts to relisten to, because again, Robert Petkoff. They loved Dark Needs at Night’s Edge which is Conrad and Neomi’s story. It was never one of my favorites. After listening, I decided to give it another try. Nope, even with all that deconstruction, still not one of my favorites. But that’s okay and the great things about books, we can all love different things. I’m revisiting The Master right now and its just as delightful as I remembered. It might also be my fifth or sixth time through. I have zero guilt about this.

As an author, it makes me a little widgy to think that people might be dissecting my books on that level. They’re not. I’m not nearly as popular or as widely read as Kresley Cole or Sarah MacLean. But weird to think about just the same.

New Job! Wins and Woes

I’m not sure if its me OR if this is just how things are in the real world. But everytime I start a new job, it seems like there’s been a shit storm brewing for some time and I’ve finally walked into it. Or maybe, I’m the only one who knows that its broken.

This new position is no different. I’ve managed to speak to all of my staff now and like 95% of them seem great. Then there is the 5% that is just incompetant. That’s just awesome to find out on day two.

Also, I’m pretty sure the processes and organization need to be reviewed and updated too. I’ve already found some redundancies and I’ve already gotten way too many emails about a single event that should have just been done.

Again…its day two.

Everyone is working remote which makes everything just a bit harder. Plus, onboarding has been a NIGHTMARE! I’m still using the computer from my old job. I can’t imagine that they’re going to allow that forever. No one seems to know what’s going on either. I’m not sure how to even get in the building or my office. Do I even have an office? Who knows?!?

Day three and I’ve made it into the office and gotten my ID badge.

The ID badge was a cluster. The system was picking up, not only my employee number from my previous position, but also from my maiden name which was confusing the hell out of the system. After about 45 minutes, they finally got it all straightened out and i have a brand new ID.

Then I got to my actual office. I managed to get parking which was a miracle AND there was someone in there to let me in. YAY! Then we got to my own personal office…it took three people to find the key to the office and a phone call to the person who used to be the office manager and RETIRED three months ago.

There is no computer. I have some monitors but no tower and no laptop. I’m told that a computer may happen either today or tomorrow…keep your fingers crossed. For some reason, there’s an extra office chair in here. There isn’t room for an additional office chair. Also, I gave up an office with a wonderful view and a shit ton of natural light for a box with no windows that is half the size of my previous office…

I knew I should have asked to look at it before hand.

Also, this office is DIRTY. I’m going to have to clean it and I hate cleaning…anything.

Day four of my journey into a new work world.

I am alone in this office and its freezing. I couldn’t get in, because my badge still isn’t working, and i managed to sweet talk someone into letting me in. Which, for anyone that knows me, was a feat in and of itself.

Can I also just say that only having a laptop screen in this office without the docking station is SUPER ANNOYING. I want to throw things up on another screen so i can look at things across screens. ARGH!

Sidenote: I do realize that my above rant about the screens is definitely a first world issue and considering what’s going on in the world, I am incredibily privledged and i’m going to shut my face about the screens. Accept that there are two screens sitting here staring at me . . . mocking me and I can’t hook into them.

Tomorrow, I’m working from home. Hopefully, that goes better…

Kids Shows: The Bad, The Good, The Hidden Gems

When I was little, I remember the shows I watched on TV being incredibly AWESOME. Things like She-Ra, The Care Bears, G.I. Joe, Jem, and other random cartoons that I can’t remember now. I’ve rewatched some of those shows since then. Some of them hold up, G.I. Joe – I’m looking in your direction. This was corny but still fun. The others. . .not so much. She-Ra was actually painful to re-watch. I don’t know how my parents suffered through some of those shows.

Now, i’m living the nightmare myself. Most of them are . . . okay. Some of them I just can’t though. This! This right here:

This one grates on my nerves but Scarlett loves it.

Then there’s this one:

This one, I just want to gouge my eyes out when she wants to watch this one. Don’t get me wrong, there are lessons to learn in all of these shows but some of them are just painful to watch.

There are, however, shows that I adore. I’ve already talked about Bluey. You can take a deep dive on that one in my previous blog. Sometimes, my husband and I will watch an episode of Bluey without Scarlett. The other day, she was giggling on the couch as she realized that the Dad got kicked in the nuts. She kept saying, “She kicked him in the penis, mommy,” while laughing hysterically. Simultaneously, Ross shaking his head in dismay as we both giggle – Scarlett because she finally realized why and I at my 6 year old daughter saying penis.

I’ll also accept Octonauts which is also repetative but there’s neat little creature reports at the end that gives you little nuggets of info about real creatures in the oceans and around. The song with the creature report is an earworm that will never leave your brain.

You’re welcome. Good luck getting that out.

The newest one, that I am WAAAAAY to invested in is Miracualous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir.

This was originally a french cartoon that was picked up by Disney. The first three seasons are on Netflix and the fourth season is on Disney+. There are also two hour long movies on Disney+. There are fan wikis for this show. This is not just a kid’s show.

Granted, the plot for each episode is the same. Someone close to Marinette or Adrien gets taken over by evil from the only true villain Hawk/Shadow Moth and Ladybug and Cat Noir have to defeat them. There’s a joke in there around season 3 or 4 about the same person being “akumatized” 71 times. Scarlett, when they said that on the show looked at me said, “Poor Mr. Ramier”, knowing exactly who it was.

Yes, the plot lines are predictable . . . it’s a children’s show. However, the tropes are amazing and classic. I won’t spoil anything for you but the themes of being a teenager, facing problems that are bigger than yourself, etc. The themes that you look for in adult centered shows, are absolutely present here but in a more approprite way to speak to kids. I actually got mad/hurt because Scarlett watched a few episodes without me. I’m 43 years old and I shouldn’t be this invested. But I am. Scarlett is aware that if she wants to watch TV and I’m hedging about screen time, all she has to do is say, “we can watch Miraculous” and I’m all in.

I have a problem and I don’t even care. I keep an eye out for new episodes to drop on Disney+ and this is quality Mommy-Scarlett time where we enjoy the same show and talk about what’s going on. She may not pick up on some of the more mature themes (since Ladybug and Cat Noir are like 14), but she gets the gist and we talk about the other stuff she doesn’t understand.

What are the fun shows you enjoy watching with your kids?

Too Much to Do

So many things to do and not enough time to do them.

First, i’m reviewing the ARC for Infinite Azure for typos and crazy shit one last time before it goes up for pre-sale. I’ll have that link to share in the next few weeks.

Second, it’s Ross’s birthday this week. My husband turns 43 tomorrow. So, today I have to make his cake and wrap his presents. Don’t forget that I have to work a full day today. UGH. So much pressure.

Third, I’m starting a whole new job on the 28th. I’m both excited and sad. I adored my team and leaving them makes me feel incredibly sad. I have guilt. However, it was time for more challenges and a change of pace. I’ll be leaving the position/department I’ve been working in for the past 8.5 years. So, I’m trying to wrap things up, mentally prepare everyone for my imminent departure, as well as the structural void that is going to happen in the department once I’m gone. I think its just starting to dawn on some of them how much I’m responsible for, both administratively and emotionally – holding everyone’s hands through basic decision making. So that’s been fun.

So, nothing fun in the blog this week. I, however, am sharing my stress with you. #you’rewelcome

Kickass Women, Saving the World

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