How I Screwed Up My First Romance Novel

by Guest Blogger on January 10, 2014 · 0 comments

in A-C, G-I, Guest Blogger, Historic America, Victorian

passing wind of loveGuest Blog by John Blumenthal, co-author of Passing Wind of Love

Inspired by the gazillions of dollars people are making in the romance novel genre, I decided to write one with a friend, Barry Golson. Granted, the genre is dominated by women, but so what? How hard could it be?

Besides, Barry and I weren’t exactly neophytes. Some years ago, we’d cut our teeth on a short romance novella called Love’s Reckless Rash, written under the pen name Rosemary Cartwheel. Granted, it was a spoof but it gave us a feel for the lingo. We knew our way around the territory.

Sort of.

But this time, we vowed to write a straight one. Our heroine would succumb to fiery passion, flaming eroticism, burning desire and lots of other forms of romantic arson.

Sure, there would be challenges. First, we would have to attempt to see things through a female’s perspective, which meant that power tools would not figure prominently in the plot.  Also, we don’t know anything about romance because we’re guys and we don’t understand things like why women like candles so much. We asked our wives for help but they thought the idea of guys – especially us — writing a romance novel was… well… idiotic.

We decided to ignore them.

Having written Love’s Reckless Rash as a period piece, we felt comfortable with the historical approach. It would take place in Jane Austen’s era. There would be dukes and earls and princes, all of them incredibly horny because in those days first base meant getting beyond the bustle.

The era’s sexual repression also appealed to us as did the language of the day -– words like “hither” and “hence” and “bodice” (although we had to look up “bodice” in a dictionary.)

So far so good. We mapped out a story. Now, all we had to do was fill the pages. Easy right?

Nope.

Ten pages into it, we encountered problems. Every time our story required us to describe ball gowns, sensuous fragrances, the intricacies of corsets or most importantly, the mysteries of the female heart, we’d get stuck.

How did we compensate for our ignorance? Simple. We went for laughs. Again. We simply couldn’t write it without cracking up.  Every time we tried to craft a lurid sex scene we couldn’t resist a punch line.

Often, we’d start a sentence with the best of intentions, but end up with this:

“I have never felt my heartstrings pulled so sharply as they are being pulled at this moment. I feel as if they will snap, and my heart will be flung across the garden into yonder lake.”

“She knew her One True Love was out there somewhere, practicing cruel expressions in the mirror, opening his shirt just so, and in general posing rakishly, roguishly, and redundantly.”

“’Sir, kindly remove your nose from my bosoms this instant! Bosoms are not places into which one inserts one’s nose. If bosom nosing is a custom in this vile place, it is not one that I care to have performed on my bosoms!!’”

You get the idea. Eventually, we succumbed to temptation. We expanded our original spoof to novel length, sending our heroine on new adventures to foreign places where she would encounter a variety of slow-witted potential paramours of different nationalities, and upper-class twits, most of who would –- of course — ardently attempt to unravel her sixteen petticoats. We titled it, Passing Wind of Love.

In other words, we fell back into the ditch.

And we still don’t understand why women like candles so much.

Passing Wind of Love Blurb:

Based on the 1984 cult classic, “Love’s Reckless Rash”, (which the Cincinnati Inquirer called “A gem…a biting romance parody”), “Passing Wind of Love” takes our heroine, Vanessa Hardleigh-Bourne-Bryte, to new heights of romantic hilarity and expands her adventures to new places where she is chased by a variety of new ardent lovers.

Given to swoons, impromptu raptures and lapses of extreme dimness, young Lady Vanessa is possessed of a dazzling Beauty that causes 19th-century noblemen to go into cardiac arrest Inevitably, she meets her One True Love–the rakish, reckless, roguish Duke of Earl–in this picaresque tale set in semi-Victorian England and semi-barbaric America. It’s for lovers of wordplay, literary banter and flagrant historical inaccuracies – Jeeves meets Emma. (That would be Wodehouse meets Woodhouse, wouldn’t it? Never mind.

Its cast of characters–nearly all with either a screw loose or no brains to speak of–include Lord Gastleigh (upper class twit), Trapper Jacques (loathes bathing) Dowager Duchess Maggie (from downtown Abbey), the Queen of England (very stout), Prince Albrecht (in the can), Lord Roscoe Jagger (demanding satisfaction), Wyatt Earp (lightning fast), Beau Weevil (lightning slow) and Thaddeus Cruise (short, handsome,).

Her adventures take her from the Queen’s dysfunctional court to a Mississippi steamboat piloted by Mark Twain to the body-littered streets of Tombstone, to the burlesque stages of olde Hollie Woods, thence to a nunnery where she must uncover a dark family secret from a silent Trappist monk via charades.

Every man who meets Vanessa becomes hopelessly smitten, while she tries valiantly to save herself for the always-bronzed and ever-chiseled Duke of Earl, not without a slew of sexual close encounters and pratfalls too embarrassing to reveal here. Passing Wind of Love is more than just a parody – it skewers religion, money, historical myths, English nobility, racism, gun control and show business. For sure, it’s the only romance novel directed at smart readers of both genders. (Don’t worry guys, Jane Austen doesn’t show up, although Darcy has a cameo.)

This fast-paced novel of high romance, glittering style, damnable puns and low intrigue will make you cheer for its indomitable heroine, sneer at its quirky villains and weep with laughter. You won’t be able to put it down. (Not without damaging your Kindle.)

Buy: PASSING WIND OF LOVE: A Hysterical Historical Romance

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