My Scandalous Scottish Laird, or Lack Thereof

July 26, 2005    By: Kristen J @ 12:29 am   Category: Life

I love to read and I have since I was a tiny girl. Now wait a minute, I’m not going to bore you with how fabulous and intellectual I am. That’s not what this post is about. I must confess that mostly what I like to read is what a friend of mine refers to as “mind candy”. I just can’t help myself, I’m an addict. For those of you who are beginning to worry about the state of my brain now, don’t, I try to throw in a classic as often as I can. If it will make you feel any better about me and this post John Steinbeck happens to be my very favorite author.

I’ll give you a quick example of how bad my habit is. When I was in college I found the small fiction section of the library and got to know it very well. Yes it’s true there was a small “mind candy” section in the collegiate library. I would head up to the library to study and as I was passing the fiction section I would feel this strange magnetic pull and before I knew it I was standing in front of the mystery section perusing the latest titles. I pulled plenty of all-nighters at school but more often than not they were spent with Mary Higgins Clark and Clive Cussler than Physical Science or Biology.

Let’s skip forward a few years, mysteries, romances, dramas, and comedies later. I get a call from my little sister and in the course of the conversation she tells me about these romance novels that she has really been enjoying lately. She starts telling me how they take place in Scotland and before she can continue I stop her. “Wait,” I say. “Let me describe the hero of the book to you. Is he a large warrior of a man with long dark hair and sapphire blue eyes? Is the young lass in the book a slip of a woman with waist length curly red hair and emerald green eyes?”

“Yeah, pretty much,” my sister replies. “Have you read this book before?”
“Nah,” I say. “That’s how all Scottish romances go.”

I really don’t like straight romance novels. They are so formulaic that I just can’t stand to read them anymore. I’m all for romance in a novel I just prefer the couple to be trying to figure out if there really is a chick in Michelangelo’s painting of the last supper while they are falling in love.

After talking to my sister I got to thinking that maybe I could write a romance novel. How hard can it be, right? Wrong. It’s harder than you think. It’s kind of difficult thinking up all of the characters and what the plot of the book will be. How they will meet and not get along for the first few chapters of the book until they eventually get thrown up against each other, lock eyes, and kiss passionately. Then they will talk about what a big mistake that was and fight their growing feelings until they end up in some life threatening situation and realize they can’t live with out each other.

I’m still working on it, if you have any good ideas let me know. While we’re at it does anyone have any good authors to recommend?


  1. At a used book sale recently, my wife purchased “How to Write Romance Novels That Sell” by Marilyn Lowery. It is quite hilarious. I’ll have to go home and find some of the more egregious quotes.

    A quick look at Amazon reveals at least 5 different how-to books, so I think you could have a career just telling other people how to write romance novels.

    Comment by NFlanders — July 26, 2005 @ 10:27 am

  2. I just prefer the couple to be trying to figure out if there really is a chick in Michelangelo’s painting of the last supper while they are falling in love

    Nice. :)

    Comment by Kim Siever — July 26, 2005 @ 10:54 am

  3. NFlanders- I actually saw one of those books at amazon and I paused and thought about purchasing it for a minute. Maybe you could read it for me and high-light the good stuff for me.

    Thanks, Kim. I do what I can.

    Comment by Kristen J — July 26, 2005 @ 11:55 am

  4. Good books to read? Well, I heard there’s a new one out in a series about this kid who has magical powers and goes to some “wizarding school” or something and has to fight some guy who no one seems to know the name of.>:)
    Seriously though, it depends on what you like. If you’re interested in projections of where Christianity is going, I highly recommend “The Next Christendom” by Phillup Jenkins (I think that’s his name). Fascinating stuff. If not that, then one everyone should read is the “His Dark Materials” trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass). A young adult series that is a parody of Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” They’re amazing!
    Wasn’t that DaVinci’s painting? I like that one too. We’ll see how good it is on the big screen soon enough.

    Comment by Bret — July 26, 2005 @ 2:06 pm

  5. I bought the 6th Harry Potter book but I’m in a quandary because I can not remember very much from the 5th book. I’m wondering if I need to read number 5 again, which I do not want to do. I hate reading books or watching movies more than once.

    Can someone give me the highlights on book number 5 and remind me of all the crucial yet obscure characters?

    Comment by Kristen J — July 26, 2005 @ 3:03 pm

  6. Not remembering what happened in Book 5 seems to be a common problem: you can find a good overview here.

    Comment by NFlanders — July 26, 2005 @ 8:24 pm

  7. I am finally at home and leafing through “How to Write Romance Novels that Sell.” The book is very entertaining when it approvingly quotes scenes from real romance novels.

    In the chapter about naming your characters there is this:
    “The heroes’ names contain hard consonant sounds. Your hero will be Brad or Brence, Kurt, Matt, Scott or even Carson or Caleb. A Jonathan or Gregory or Thomas slips in now and then, usually in the more elegant Regencies or in the Victorian Gothics.”
    I am going to have to seriously consider “Brence” as a back-up to Ned.

    Obviously, the best bits are in the chapter on love scenes, but very few excerpts are appropriate for a family blog.

    Comment by NFlanders — July 26, 2005 @ 9:05 pm

  8. I am going to have to seriously consider “Brence” as a back-up to Ned.


    Comment by Geoff J — July 26, 2005 @ 9:09 pm

  9. Ned you are a life saver! Thanks so much for that link, it’s going to save me quite a bit of time.

    Brence…what a strong and manly sounding name.

    Comment by Kristen J — July 26, 2005 @ 11:37 pm

  10. If you haven’t read them, I recommend Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, and the Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

    Comment by Susan M — July 29, 2005 @ 10:25 pm

  11. Oh, and probably the best romance novel ever written is Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale.

    Comment by Susan M — July 29, 2005 @ 10:27 pm

  12. Thanks Susan. I just bought The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd, the author of the Secret Life of Bees

    Comment by Kristen J — July 30, 2005 @ 11:18 am

  13. I haven’t read that yet, you’ll have to let me know how it is. I really enjoyed the Secret Life of Bees.

    Comment by Susan M — July 31, 2005 @ 10:38 pm

  14. Kristen,
    I just read a book called Annie, Between the States by L.M. Elliott. It was really good. It’s a historical novel set in the Civil War period.
    Just thought I’d pass along the suggestion.

    Comment by Jamie J — August 16, 2005 @ 8:32 am