My Favourite Romance Tropes!

Tropes are popular. Movies have them, television shows have them. Books have them. Look no further than the romance genre that’s never met a trope it didn’t like. Some of which we love and some we love to hate. That’s what makes taglines and covers so important. It’s the first indication of what you can expect to find inside the pages of a book.

Romance TropesMy Top Five Favourite Romance Tropes:

  1. Reunion/Second Chance Stories (Hands down my go to favourite trope! Bonus points if they take place in a small town! Sigh…)
  2. Badass Bookworm (Intelligence is a major turn-on for me.)
  3. Fish Out Of Water (Nothing makes me happier than a heroine or hero who finds themselves in a situation they never imagined without the appropriate skills to navigate it.)
  4. Nerd Hero (Heroes with brains? Glasses? A aptitude for math? Don’t talk to me until I’m done the book.)
  5. Beauty and the Beast (Always.)

My Top Least Favourite Romance Tropes:

  1. Enemies to Lovers (This scenario does not work for me! Not sure why!)
  2. Marriage of Convenience (I always think I’ll these ones and then I never, ever do. I think because they often have an unequal power dynamic.)
  3. Famous Hero/Normal Heroine (These leave me cold, for lack of a better term. That includes billionaire heroes, rock star heroes, sports heroes. I know, I’m weird.)
  4. Little Sister/Older Brother’s Best Friend. (The conflict often results from breaking a dated bro code and that doesn’t work for me.)
  5. Boss/Secretary (Just..yuck! Again, I never enjoy the power dynamic of these type of workplace romances.)

I guess you could say I definitely have preferences. I LOVE to root for the underdog. Intelligent characters are a must for most readers, but high IQs, geniuses, characters who are passionate or experts in their fields draw me right in. On the other hand, hardworking, salt of the earth, self-sacrificing characters who are just looking to keep their heads down and get the job done are also a favourite of mine.

romance novels

But any book with the word ‘bastard’ in the title – no, thanks. That goes for books with the word ‘submissive’ anywhere on the cover too. As you might have guessed from my least favourite list, any book where the representation of power is immediately perceived to be unequal is of little interest to me.

As for my own writing, BACKLASH definitely has a second chance at love feel to it. EXPOSED has a smidgen of a May/December trope. OFF THE GRID has both a badass bookworm (or smart, passionate doctor) and nerd hero vibe. And if you enjoy the family dysfunction trope, you’ll love the book I’m working on right now.

However, despite my lists, I’m always open to great writing and well-developed characters. And if a favoured author pens a book that looks like it might fall into the ‘nope’ category, I’ll definitely check it out. After all, we learn as much from books we don’t like as from the ones we do.

How about you? What are your favourite types of stories? Least favourite?

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Reading Away The January Blues

Any time is a good time to read a book, but something about the cold winds of winter, cozy blankets, and hot tea encourages me to hunker down and read away the January blues. Blue Monday falls somewhere in January, There’s some debate about which Monday specifically, and how the defining formula works, but I think it’s safe to say some of us find January challenging for a variety of reasons. My coping strategy is reading.

My January TBR Pile

My January TBR pile is an eclectic mix of books. Most of which I was fortunate enough to receive as Christmas gifts. I’ve finished reading The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld. This was our January book club pick and let me just say, wow. I can’t say enough good thing about this book. It checked all my favourites: remote setting, strong but damaged protagonist, enthralling plot, excellent pacing.

I have started Stephen King’s On Writing. A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie is sitting beside me on my desk as inspiration! Also, I was lucky enough to win a $25 KOBO gift card, so I bought a book by a favourite author, Nora Roberts’ Year One.

Take that January blues!

Karyn Good, Romantic Suspense Author

Upcoming News

My novel, BACKLASH, is included in a romantic suspense boxset, Closer To Danger, that is available for preorder and comes out February 8th. The entire boxset is only $2.99 (US) at Amazon US and $3.76 (CAN) Amazon CAN.

Closer To Danger: A Romantic Suspense Boxset

Six romantic suspense books! If you love intrigue, are looking for excitement, or want to set your heart racing, preorder now and don’t miss the chance to read books by these talented authors: Rachel Brimble, Suzanne Rossi, Mitzi Pool Bridges, Robena Grant, Debra Jupe.

What does your reading list look like for January?

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A Look Ahead at 2018 and a Look Back at 2017!

I’m looking back on 2017’s fondest memories and thinking ahead to 2018 with excitement.

2018

Every year I try to pick a word every year and 2018’s word is COMMIT. It’s difficult to explain to another what that word signifies to me. It’s a rather benign word without context. My writing has waited patiently in the wings these last couple of years while I’ve focused on improving other areas of my life. That’s not to  say I abandoned the process altogether, but writing wasn’t a priority. When I did sit down to write, it was a half-hearted, distracted attempt and my Muse knew it and made me work for any gains I managed.

Perhaps I should also explain that I’ve always felt my Muse was quite Nanny McPhee like, and therefore I don’t use the word lightly as she makes her presence known in my lowest of writing times.

“When you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go.”

I feel like she letting go now and winging her way towards another struggling writer.

I also seem to attach myself to a quote each year. I love quotes and I come across them all the time on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and a host of other places. I know the right one when I read it. Also, I’m a firm believer in the Universe providing. The moment I saw this quote I knew it had my intentions for 2018 written all over it.

“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” Ginny Weasley (J.K. Rowlings)

So, here’s to a productive and creative 2018!

2017

But 2017 was pretty darn awesome and, boy, did it fly by. To be more mindful, in 2017 I committed to slow everything: slow fashion, slow food, slow fitness…you get the idea. I focused on my health. I chose quality over quantity. I shopped local. I did a host of things that inspired and motivated me to do slow down and find my focus and it worked!

Slow Down

I’ll end with two of my favourite images of 2017.

By far the biggest event of 2017 took place on September 30th! The day our son and daughter-in-law were married amid much joy, love and celebration.

J&B Wedding

I went on my first writing retreat in the spring of 2017 and my second in November. We chose the tranquil calm of the Living Skies Retreat and Conference Centre in picturesque Lumsden, Saskatchewan to get our creative juices flowing.

SRW 2017 Nov. Writing Retreat

There is a huge wood burning fireplace in the main area that we congregated in front of in the evenings. In front of us were large floor to ceiling windows with views of the Qu’Appelle Valley and lots of comfy seating for writing during the days. There were walking paths and a lovely labyrinth to explore.

Living Skies Retreat and Conference Centre

What were two highs for you in 2017 and how are you looking ahead at 2018?

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Memorable (To Me) Fathers in Fiction

Gosh, I’m so glad that I have a partner and that we support each other in this crazy business we like to call parenting. Hopefully, we do a decent job. Most days, anyway. And I definitely wouldn’t want to do this job without him. He’s a great father and role model for our kids. I also born into a two parent family. I have a very involved father. Fact: I’m a lot like my Dad. At 79 years young he rocks at texting and using emojis more than me. And he never shies away from learning new things. I love my Dad to the moon and back.

I think, if there’s one role within families that is changing with the times, it’s the role of father. But maybe that’s because I’m a mother…and when I think about it our role has changed too. We’ve come a long way from thinking the 1950’s ideal family unit is the only option These days fathers can be the stay-at-home parent. He can be gay or straight, have stepchildren, adoptive kids, and he’s given necessary label of parent rather than babysitter.

When it comes to fictional dads, I don’t not have to put one iota of effort into naming my very favourite father character, which would be Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Quiet, polite, and smart. And he loved to read! I have loved him since high school.

“Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that’s something I’ll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children out there. You understand?”

 

Here are three other books I feel have memorable dads or father figures:

I’m so thankful for my dad. He taught me about taking risks, encourages me to step outside my comfort zone and he’s always there for me. And here’s to fictional fathers, the past, present and future examples of a changing world.

Who are some of your favourite fictional dads?

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My Summer Reading List

Yesterday on Instagram I shared a summer reading list I compiled of books I want to read. Hopefully I’ll get to more than a few of the books on my lists this summer. My Instagram list, however, is comprised of books I have yet to purchase. I have a stack of books I ready own that I need to read first.

Summer to me means books! Lots and lots of books and reading. My goals are always ambitious. But that’s what goals are for, right? To push one’s self.

I’m currently reading The Romance Writer’s Guide To Life by Sharon Pywell. I’m enjoying this one even though I prepared myself for some serious stereotyping of romance readers. That hasn’t happened so far. But I’m still kind of holding my breath.

Summer Reading List: Books I Already Own:

  • The Break by Katherena Vermette. A finalist in Canada Reads and a recommendation from a trusted source.
  • Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel of Letters by Mark Dunn. This one sounds really intriguing and given to me by another trusted source. I love it when that happens!
  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. I’ve had this one for awhile now and I think I’m scared to start it. Here’s hoping the sunny days and summer heat make me less shy about this one.

Summer Reading List: Books I Have Yet To Purchase:

I hope you check out a few of the books and links listed. Most of these authors are new to me and I’ve picked these books for a reason. Not only do I feel like they will make my summer a better one than it’s already promising to be, but I’m hoping to get some insight to where I want to go from here with my own writing. As I rap up my fourth romantic suspense story, I more and more wonder if the romance genre is the right place for me. I will always love romance, but more and more I find it doesn’t fit my writing needs. The more I learn about my process and my strengths and weaknesses, the more I want to write women’s fiction. But more on this in the months to come.

I want to hear what’s on your summer reading list?

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Here’s To Interesting Villains!

Gosh, I love a good villain, don’t you? A well rounded character who believes she or he is the hero of his or her own story and is wholeheartedly invested in their purpose. But at the same time has doubts about their mission and their abilities or exhibits a certain amount of vulnerability. I can’t help but think of the late Heath Ledger as the Joker. What an extraordinary bit of acting!

Fictional Villains

I have to admit that I don’t read many sweet books. I’m more of a psychological suspense/thriller, there-is-going-to-be-blood-spilled reader at the moment. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. S.J. Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep. Another book that comes to mind is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Let me tell you, they all contain some interesting villains!

Last Wednesday night I went to see Globe Theatre’s Disney version of The Little Mermaid and it was utterly delightful. So colourful and energetic with many wonderful performances. But guess who stole the show for me? Ursula! The victim of patriarchal legacy in which the family trident was passed down to the male heir she’s out for revenge. Also, she’s a bit of a psychopath.

Neither is my writing sweet. There are sweet moments but overall mine is a grittier take on characters and what’s happening to them. I have Raphael Tessier, brutal Enforcer for the Prairie Brotherhood, in BACKLASH. Jason Drummond, twisted elitist, in OFF THE GRID. EXPOSED has Matthew Parsons, Shepard of the Valley Church and martyr with an agenda.

A Real Life Villain

But the real villain in my life right now is sugar! One might argue that it’s not the actual product that is evil, but the real life problems that arise from the amount one consumes. Like the best villains, sugar is SO seductive! It makes things taste better. And some days we just need that, you know? It’s a heck of a lot more appealing to me to eat a chocolate bar then figure out why I’m feeling down in the dumps. But that sweet yummy goodness is a crappy kind of catharsis and last only as long as it takes to eat that Dairy Milk bar (my favourite) and then I’m back to square one.

I’m gearing up to do a sugar-free challenge in June. I’ve done versions of one before so the challenge isn’t as daunting to me as it was in the past.

Here are four things I’m doing to reduce my sugar intake:

  • I cut out soda pop. Which means only rare indulgences of the Pepsi I love. You’d think that after not drinking it for months I’d be repulsed by the sweet taste. Eight teaspoons in one can. Unfortunately. I still love an ice cold glass of cola but only as a treat.
  • I switched to a sugar-free natural peanut butter. Basically, it’s ground peanuts. But now I like it better than the other stuff. I’ve also experimented with other natural nut butters. Especially, in my smoothies. So yummy!
  • I make my own salad dressings and my own mayonnaise. I try to avoid commercially prepared sauces, dressings, marinades and such as they usually contain a scary amount of sugar disguised as other names. I just need to find a recipe for sugar-free ketchup and I’m home free.
  • As embarrassing as it is to admit, I think I saved myself about 50 calories a day by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to my oatmeal instead of a sweetener.
What I’m reading:

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson. I know he’s written a gazillion books but this is only the 3rd one I’ve read and…eeps! Last night I had the first nightmare I’ve had in a LONG time. Can’t wait to finish it!

Have a favourite villain? Or a delicious sugar-free ketchup recipe? Tips on reducing sugar intake? Please, share!

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A Writer’s Journey To Slow Fashion

My transition into slow everything, food, fashion, fitness, has been, well…slow. My evolution into a conscious consumer a work-in-progress. Good habits take time to cultivate, after all. And it’s not always easy. Improving my health, my carbon footprint, or my writing craft takes effort and a great deal of planning. Oh, the planning! I find I’m no longer the jump right in and get it done sort. The older I get the more planning becomes one of my cornerstones to achieving my goals

Cue my foray into slowing things down and letting go of Fast Fashion. I read a truly alarming statistic the other day in an article discussing the movie: The True Cost.  In a conversation with Livia Firth, Founder and Creative Director of Eco-Age, a fashion activist (also the wife of Mr. Darcy, sometimes known as Colin Firth), she mentioned The average garment remains in a person’s closet for an average of five weeks. What!?!

My first thought was the amazing amount of time some people must spend shopping. Yikes! If you’re throwing away clothes at that rate, you must be really like the mall. I’m also wondering about the amount of money being spent. But when you can buy a t-shirt for $4.99, who cares if you throw it out when it falls apart after one wash. So much of what we consume is disposable. Unfortunately, it’s not biodegradable.

Livia Firth is also a force behind the 30 Wear Challenge. When you buy an article of clothing commit to wearing it a minimum of thirty times. I know some of you are already a pro at this concept. But some of you, like me, might want to check out your closet, or take a look in your daughter’s closet. Or at her floor. What about that one-time-wear adorable holiday outfit you bought for your grandchild? Or your dog?

An estimated 1 million tons of textile waste is dumped into landfills around the world each year.

Armed with that tragic stat, I did a little research and learned what I could do to be more conscious about my wardrobe choices and my shopping habits. Enter the words: eco, ethical, and sustainable.

Me? I’m a terrible impulse shopper. So that’s one of the habits I need break. Turns out it’s not that hard to do when you have to keep an ear to those three ideals and the commitment to 30 wears. Shopping then becomes a little overwhelming, to be honest. But not impossible. Hence the planning part and also the realization I have to take it slow. Ease my way towards my end goal of an ethical wardrobe.

Five Ways To Becoming A More Thoughtful, Slower Consumer:

  • Buy local.
  • Buy less.
  • Buy used.
  • Buy from independent designers.
  • Buy quality garments that last.

My discoveries so far: Miik (A 100% Canadian Company), Tonle (A Zero Waste Fashion Line) and SlumLove Sweater Company (Ethically Handmade in Kenya).

Personally, it’s also about improving the lives of people at the very beginning of the supply chain. The majority of garment workers are women who work and reside in some of the most underdeveloped countries in the world working for factories and brands who have little regard for safety and labour protection issues.

A dress from Tonle, a zero waste fashion line.

Someone complimented me on my Tonle shirt (my new favourite) the other day and after I said thanks I asked if they wanted to hear the story behind my shirt? As a writer and teller of stories, why not wear one?

What’s in your wardrobe?

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Learning New Things! And a Giveaway!

*************THE WINNER is Lorrie!******************

A reminder that from now until the 28th of October I’m hosting a giveaway! Sign up for my newsletter and be entered to win a $25.00 gift certificate to one of the following: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble. The winner will be announced on October 29th!

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I promise not to overwhelm your inbox! You’ll receive cover reveals, release date announcements and be eligible for member only giveaways.

Learning New Things

I’m also fooling around with Canva and trying my hand at designing some of my own marketing graphics. It’s a relatively straightforward process, but still involves a learning curve and takes some practicing. I love taking photos, thus my love of Instagram, so I have a fairly sizeable supply of images. Although Canva has some very easy to follow tutorials, I went searching tips and tricks.

20 Tips & Tricks For Making Awesome Canva Graphics

25 Epic Graphic Design Tips for Non-Designers

Canva: An Easy How To Guide

I’m not sure what happened with the formatting above. WordPress sometimes stymies me. I wish I was a whiz at this kind of thing but I’m not, but I do like playing around. Often to the point of using it as a distraction. Like bullet journalling which I love but am trying to develop a system for using.

Bullet Journaling

Who knew I would develop and deep and abiding love of stickers at this age! And then there’s my addiction to washi tape. And markers. The good news is I’m no longer surrounded by bits of paper and sticky notes. My desk is neater and tidier than it’s ever been. Hallelujah!

Here’s to learning new things! What are you learning these days? What are you thinking about attempting?

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Giveaway and September Wrap Up!

Giveaway Announcement

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From October 11th until October 28th, 2016, sign up to receive my newsletter and be entered for a chance to win a $25.00 gift certificate to one of the following: Amazon, Kobo or Barnes and Noble. Winner announced on October 29, 2016!

Choose the Newsletter tab at the top or the Subscribe to Karyn’s mailing list option on the sidebar!

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Signing up means receiving news of future books, cover reveals, deals, contests and giveaways!

Top Three Images of September

www.karyngood.com

My revamped office!

I’m back in my revamped office after a two month writing break! It feels great to be back writing in a space that inspires me.

Queen City Marathon #yqr

That time I walked 20.1 km.

On September 11th I walked a half marathon and checked a major item off my Life Goal List.

Prairie Inukshuk

The Inukshuk we found on our Sunday drive.Top Book I Read

I don’t know about you, but for me fall Sunday’s are meant for drives in the country and discovering hidden gems.

Top Book I Read!

I read one book in September which is very unusual for me. Thank goodness I really enjoyed the one I finished. Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase is our October book pick. If you’re interested, you can even try a sample of either the book version or audio version at Eve Chase’s website!

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Writing Life

Now that I’m back in my office and in a neat and organized space, I need to get back into a regular writing schedule. I do better with schedules.

How about you? Do you like the freedom of winging it? Or are you most productive when adhering to a schedule? Or do you enjoy a little of both?

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Summer Wrap Up and Exposed is 99 cents

EXPOSED is 99 cents until Friday, September 16th!

Exposed, Book 2 Aspen Lake Series

Kate Logan needs a safe haven, a place to start over after her modeling career disintegrates in scandal. But her hometown of Aspen Lake isn’t the sanctuary she hoped. Her vow of a low-key life is disrupted by a break-in and other strange happenings at her boutique. As the chair of Aspen Lake’s Gothic Revival Festival, she’s also drawn the ire of a religious fanatic. Kate is up to her stilettos in drama and intrigue including one sexy carpenter who’s determined to get in her way.

New to town, Seth Stone is seeking inspiration and solitude to concentrate on his art. Short on funds, he agrees to take on a second job restoring the damage to Kate’s Closet. Trouble erupts along with the desire to get to know Kate better. When he’s used as a pawn in a smear campaign against his gorgeous boss Seth fights back. But now the whole town is watching. Including the man determined to further his own agenda. Time is running out with nowhere to hide.

* AMAZON * KOBO * BARNES AND NOBLE * THE WILD ROSE PRESS * iBOOKS * ALL ROMANCE eBOOKS *

It’s been a great summer!

It’s also flown by way to fast. August basically passed in a blur! Doesn’t it always.

Top Three Images!

This happened!! Our son and future daughter-in-law!! That was the giant news of the summer! Huge! And we are SO excited!

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We swam and camped and golfed and generally had fun.

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Our Second Annual Hundred Mile Dinner which included everything local with a couple of exceptions. So much fun and such good eats. Thanks mainly to my talented mother and my sister, who along with the Adorables stayed for two whole weeks!

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Top Book I Read This Summer

The Nest by Cynthia D’aprix Sweeney

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Technically, I’m not sure it was one of my favourite books. But I sure had fun discussing it for our Holiday Family Book Club and this crew! Also, it’s one of the picks for my Sanity Seekers Book Club so now I’m ahead of the game!

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Three Things About My Life This Summer

I put my writing on hold for a couple of months while I made over my office. I needed to clean and declutter my space which I hope will get me back on track again. I can already feel my writing mojo coming back. See my post at the Killer Chicks if you’re interested in pictures!

I upped my golfing game by taking a lesson. Much work needed in this area but I saw improvement which was exciting. Even if it was preceded by a whole bunch of why-did-I-think-this-was-a-good-idea.

We went camping this summer. In a tent. Twice. The first time I also got lost on a trip back from the bathroom because it was pitch dark. The second time the first night got down to 4 degrees Celsius. I think that translates to 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Whatever. It was darn cold. Both experiences will some day find themselves in a book!

What I’m Looking Forward To Next

Getting back into the writing groove!

Autumn. I love fall. Especially the clothes colours.

The start of another season of Globe Theatre productions. This is our local theatre company and they put on amazing performances.

What are you looking forward to the most in September?

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