Overboard

OVERBOARD

By Kathy Clark

One of the best things I did to improve my overall writing skills was to take screenwriting classes.  I had already had twenty-three novels published before I decided to give Hollywood a shot.  There was no question that I knew how to plot a novel and create characters.  But what I learned from writing screenplays was the delicate art form of pacing, set-ups and payoffs, backstory without lengthy narrative, and fast-paced scene structure.  I also learned how to write interesting, realistic characters who reveal themselves through actions and dialogue.

I’ve read hundreds of blogs and articles about characters, plotting, and structure.  Most cite classic authors such as Hemingway and Steinbeck.  But when I was an adjunct professor, I used a little-know movie as my best example of a well-executed plot and great character development.  It’s not what most would consider a must-see film, but on a basic level, it’s enjoyable.  As an example of how to write a novel or a movie, it’s fantastic.  The name of the movie is….drum roll, please…a 1987 Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell film, Overboard.

Not what you expected, I bet.  But, considering that it was written by Leslie Dixon who also wrote Loverboy, Outrageous Fortune, and The Heartbreak Kid and directed by the incredibly talented Garry Marshall, it comes as no surprise that this film followed a tried-and-true formula.

The set-up is that a ridiculously spoiled heiress (Joanna), who is so disliked even her mother avoids her, hires a local carpenter (Dean) to remodel a closet on her yacht.  He does a fabulous job but, instead of praise, she is rude, condescending, and shorts his pay.  The author set up Joanna perfectly so that when she fell overboard during a stormy night, you weren’t very sympathetic.  She is rescued, but she has amnesia and doesn’t realize her yacht is sailing off without her (and that her husband and crew are partying big time!)  Through a plot twist, she ends up at Dean’s house under the misconception that she is his wife and Dean’s wild sons are her children.  During the course of his attempt to get back at her, they fall in love and she learns humility, respect, and the true meaning of happiness.  Anyway, you get the plot.  Goldie’s character starts out as a totally unlikeable bitch.  We all know that you can make your heroes and heroines as bad and flawed as you want…as long as they are eventually redeemed.

Goldie’s character began as an extreme.  But remember, Overboard was released in 1987, pre-social media, even prior to the explosion of the internet.  Update the character to 2016 and maybe change her last name to Kardashian, and you have basically the same shallow, self-centered person.  The good news is that that kind of character has plenty of room to grow and develop.  It’s important to give all your major characters a strong arc to show how they have changed and improved because of whatever went on during the course of the book, including true love.

But where do you start?  How do you write characters who start out superficial and end up being substantive?  Here are a few examples of people you don’t want to know by Shana Lebowitz as seen in the Business Insider.  She has presented this for real people, but it’s easily adaptable to your fictional cast of characters.  Pick one or two quirks as the basis for your characters’ genesis, then have fun with it.

 

Disclosing something extremely personal early on in a relationship

In general, people like each other more after they’ve traded confidences. Self-disclosure is one of the best ways to make friends as an adult.

But psychologists say that disclosing something too intimate — say, that your sister is having an extramarital affair — while you’re still getting to know someone can make you seem insecure and decrease your likability.

The key is to get personal without getting overly personal. As one study led by Susan Sprecher at Illinois State University suggests, simply sharing details about your hobbies and your favorite childhood memories can make you seem warmer and more likable.

 

Asking someone questions without talking about yourself at all

Susan Sprecher also found an important caveat to the idea that self-disclosure predicts closeness: It has to be mutual. People generally like you less if you don’t reciprocate when they disclose something intimate.

In the study, unacquainted participants either engaged in back-and-forth self-disclosure or took turns self-disclosing for 12 minutes each while the other listened. Results showed that participants in the back-and-forth group liked each other significantly more.

As the authors write, “Although shy or socially anxious people may ask questions of the other to detract attention from themselves, our research shows that this is not a good strategy for relationship initiation. Both participants in an interaction need to disclose to generate mutual closeness and liking.

 

Hiding your emotions

Research suggests that letting your real feelings come through is a better strategy for getting people to like you than bottling it all up.

In one study, researchers videotaped people watching the fake-orgasm scene from the movie When Harry Met Sally and a sad scene from the movie The Champ. In some cases, the actors were instructed to react naturally; in another they were instructed to suppress their emotions.

College students then watched the four versions of the videos. Researchers measured how much the students would be interested in befriending the people in the videos, as well as their assessments of the personalities of the people in the videos.

Results showed that suppressors were judged less likable — as well as less extroverted and agreeable — than people who emoted naturally.

 

Acting Too Nice

You might think you’ll win people over by acting altruistically, but science suggests otherwise.

In a 2010 study, researchers at Washington State University gave college students points that they could keep or redeem for meal-service vouchers. Participants were told that they were playing in groups of five — even though four of them were manipulations by the researchers — and were told that giving up points would boost the group’s chance of getting a monetary reward.

Some of the “fake” participants would give up lots of points and only take a few vouchers. As it turns out, most participants said they wouldn’t want to work with their unselfish teammate again. Some said the unselfish teammate made them look bad; others suspected they had ulterior motives.

 

Humblebragging

To impress friends and potential employers, avoid complimenting yourself and trying to disguise it as self-criticism. This behavior, otherwise known as “humblebragging,” could be a turn-off, according to a recent study.

In the study, college students were asked to write down how they’d answer a question about their biggest weakness in a job interview. Results showed that more than three-quarters of participants humblebragged, usually about being a perfectionist or working too hard.

Yet independent research assistants said they’d be more likely to hire the participants who were honest, and found them significantly more likable. Those students said things like, “I’m not always the best at staying organized” and “Sometimes I overreact to situations.”

 

Not having a sense of humor

If you’re looking to make friends, you might want to loosen up.

One study of 140 Chinese workers between ages 26 and 35 found that people were less well-liked and less popular among their colleagues if they were “morally focused.” That means they placed a high value on displaying caring, fairness, and other moral traits.

The researchers explained that was because morally focused individuals were perceived as less humorous by their colleagues. Note that this research isn’t an excuse to stop caring about or acting fairly toward your coworkers. But consider it a reason to act less uptight around them.

 

Not smiling

When you’re at a networking event, meeting tons of new people, it can be hard to keep a smile plastered on your face. But you might want to try.

In one study, nearly 100 undergraduate women looked at photos of another woman in one of four poses: smiling in an open body position, smiling in a closed body position, not smiling in an open body position, or not smiling in a closed body position. Results showed that the woman in the photo was liked most when she was smiling, regardless of her body position.

Bonus: Another study found that smiling when you first meet someone helps ensure that they’ll remember you later.

 

Acting like you don’t like someone

Psychologists have known for a while about a phenomenon called “reciprocity of liking“: When we think someone likes us, we tend to like them as well.

In one study, for example, participants were told that certain members of a group discussion would probably like them. (These group members were chosen randomly by the experimenter.) After the discussion, participants indicated that the people they liked best were the ones who supposedly liked them.

If you don’t express fondness for the person you’re meeting, you could potentially turn them off and send them in search of someone who does seem to care about them.

 

Now that you know how to make your Johanna an unpleasant character, what are you going to do to make us love her?

 

Discover all of Kathy’s screenplays and novels on http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com

The current series are located as follows –

 

Adult Contemporary Romance [Denver Heroes & Austin Heroes]

http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com/Romantic_Suspense.html

 

New Adult Romance –

http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com/SCANDALS.html

 

Young Adult Romance Time Travel –

http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com/Young_Adult.html

 

 

#romance #realityromance #overboard #goldiehawn # KurtRussell #Kardashian #garymarshall #harlequin #loveswept #penguinrandomhouse #newadult

What About Bob?

By Kathy Clark

 

In earlier BLOGS we’ve discussed the basis, nature and characteristics of what a REALITY ROMANCE novel is all about.  As a refresher, a REALITY ROMANCE   is a character-driven story where real life is interrupted by the risks, rewards, and romance of life.  Most important to any great story is great characters.   You must hate them or love them, ultimately hoping they succeed or fail if you want the readers to remember them after they close the book or turn off the ereader.

What makes a character memorable?  This BLOG,WHAT ABOUT BOB, delves into the 17 psychological tricks to make people like the character immediately based on a Business Insider article by Shana Lebowitz.  She’s really nailed it and we’ve quoted her extensively.

But first, there are three things to keep in mind when reading this BLOG:

  1. Re-watch the movie What About Bob and analyze what made Bob so creepy and eventually likable. He was clearly a nice guy who had good intentions.  How and why did his actions work against him?
  2. Think about the characters who have stuck with you, either literary or in film/TV. Analyze why you liked or hated them.  What made them memorable?
  3. Relate your characters to real people you know or memorable characters from other sources. That doesn’t mean to copy them verbatim or name them Hans Gruber (the bad guy from Die Hard).  Just absorb the elements that make them interesting into your own hero, heroine, or villain.

I’m sure you all already know that one of the rules of writing both books and screenplays is that you should come into a scene late and leave early.  That works for characters, too.  You don’t start your story on the day your hero was born.  Rather, you jump into the middle of his life and reveal his backstory as you go along.  That unveiling is how the readers get to know him and to understand his motivations and actions, as well as his weaknesses and strengths.  It has taken him twenty-five or so years to become the person he is.  A good writer finds ways to work that backstory into his current story to make him three-dimensional.  Everyone has flaws and fears.  Even heroes.

But how do your characters react to each other?  That reveals more about a character than what he thinks about himself.  Everyone has a different type of relationship with his mother than he does with his boss or his best friend or a woman he’s trying to impress.  All are layers of his personality that make him memorable.

A screenwriter or author can make these relationships come alive by relying on certain techniques that we have all seen or maybe even used ourselves.  Try them to reveal the different layers of your characters and how they relate to others.

In the movie What About Bob, the Bill Murray character tries to be everything to everyone, and ends up being really annoying.  By trying to hide his own reality by becoming someone else, he used many of the following techniques to become someone else.  We don’t advise you go quite that far.  But watching people relate to other people gives you a lot of opportunity to develop even minor players into memorable characters.

Following is a list of how real people establish relationships.  Some will work for your characters, and some you may find helpful when you’re marketing your book or dealing with customers or fellow workers.  Just don’t put them all into one person like they did in What About Bob.

 

  1. Copy them

This strategy is called mirroring, and involves subtly mimicking the other person’s behavior. When talking to someone, try copying their body language, gestures, and facial expressions.

 

  1. Spend more time around them

According to the mere exposure effect, people tend to like things that are familiar to them.

Knowledge of this phenomenon dates back to the 1950s, when MIT 

Researchers discovered that college students who lived closer together in housing projects were more likely to be friends than students who lived farther apart.

 

  1. Compliment other people

People will associate the adjectives you use to describe other people with your personality. This phenomenon is called spontaneous trait transference.

According to Gretchen Rubin, author of books including The Happiness Project,” whatever you say about other people influences how people see you.

The reverse is also true: If you are constantly trashing people behind their backs, your friends will start to associate the negative qualities with you as well.

 

  1. Be in a great mood

Emotional contagion describes what happens when people are strongly influenced by the moods of other people. According to a research paper from the University of Ohio and the University of Hawaii, people can unconsciously feel the emotions of those around them.  If you want to make others feel happy when they’re around you, do your best to communicate positive emotions.

 

  1. Make friends with their friends

The social network theory behind this effect is called triadic closure, which means that two people are likely to be closer when they have a common friend.

To illustrate this effect, students at the University of British Columbia designed a program that friends random individuals on Facebook. They found that people were more likely to accept their friend request as their number of mutual friends increased from 20% with no mutual friends to close to 80% with more than 11 mutual friends.

 

  1. Don’t be complimentary all the time

The gain-loss theory of interpersonal attractiveness suggests that your positive comments will make more of an impact if you only deliver them occasionally.

A 1965 study by University of Minnesota researchers shows how this theory might work in practice. Researchers had 80 female college students work in pairs on a task and then allowed those students to “overhear” their partners talking about them.  In one scenario, the comments were all positive; in a second scenario, the comments were all negative; in a third scenario, the comments went from positive to negative; and in a fourth scenario, the comments went from negative to positive.

As it turns out, students liked their partners best when the comments went from positive to negative, suggesting that people like to feel that they’ve won you over in some capacity.

Bottom line: Although it’s counterintuitive, try complimenting your friends less often.

 

  1. Be both warm and competent

Social psychologist Susan Fiske proposed the stereotype content model, which is a theory that people judge others based on their warmth and competence.

According to the model, if you can portray yourself as warm — i.e. noncompetitive and friendly — people will feel like they can trust you. If you seem competent — for example, if you have high economic or educational status — they’re more inclined to respect you.

 

  1. Reveal your flaws from time to time

According to the pratfall effect, people will like you more after you make a mistake.  This is true only if they believe you are usually a competent person. Revealing that you aren’t perfect makes you more relatable and vulnerable toward the people around you.

When people did well on the quiz but spilled coffee at the end of the interview, the students rated them higher on likeability than when they did well on the quiz and didn’t spill coffee or didn’t do well on the quiz and spilled coffee.

 

  1. Emphasize your shared values

According to a classic study by Theodore Newcomb, people are more attracted to those who are similar to them. This is known as the similarity-attraction effect.  In his experiment, Newcomb measured his subjects’ attitudes on controversial topics such as sex and politics and then put them in a University of Michigan-owned house to live together.

By the end of their stay, the subjects liked their housemates more when they had similar attitudes about the topics that were measured.

 

  1. Casually touch them

This is known as subliminal touching, which occurs when you touch a person so subtly that they barely notice. Common examples including tapping someone’s back or touching their arm, which can make them feel more warmly toward you.

In a University of Mississippi and Rhodes College experiment that studied the effects of interpersonal touch on restaurant tipping, waitresses briefly touched customers on the hand or shoulder as they were returning their change. As it turns out, they earned significantly larger tips than waitresses who didn’t touch their customers.

 

  1. Smile

In one study, nearly 100 undergraduate women looked at photos of another woman in one of four poses: smiling in an open body position, smiling in a closed body position, not smiling in an open body position, or not smiling in a closed body position. Results suggested that the woman in the photo was liked most when she was smiling, regardless of her body position.

 

  1. See the other person how they want to be seen

People want to be perceived in a way that aligns with their own beliefs about themselves. This phenomenon is described by self-verification theory. We all seek confirmations of our views, positive or negative.

The participants with positive self-views preferred people who thought highly of them, while those with negative self-views preferred critics. This could be because people like to interact with those who provide feedback consistent with their known identity.

 

  1. Tell them a secret

Self-disclosure may be one of the best relationship-building techniques.

In a study led by Arthur Aron at Stony Brook University, college students were paired off and told they should spend 45 minutes getting to know each other better.

Experimenters provided some student pairs with a series of questions to ask, which got increasingly deep and personal. For example, one of the intermediate questions was “How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?” Other pairs were given small-talk-type questions. For example, one question was “What is your favorite holiday? Why?”

At the end of the experiment, the students who’d asked increasingly personal questions reported feeling much closer to each other than students who’d engaged in small talk.

 

  1. Expect good things from people

According to the Pygmalion effect, people treat others in ways that are consistent with their expectations of them and therefore cause the person to behave in a way that confirms those expectations.

In a Harvard Magazine article, Cuddy says, “If you think someone’s a jerk, you’ll behave toward them in a way that elicits jerky behaviors.”

On the other hand, if you expect someone to be friendly toward you, they are more likely to behave in a friendly manner toward you.

 

  1. Act like you like them

Psychologists have known for a while about a phenomenon called “reciprocity of liking”.  When we think someone likes us, we tend to like them as well.

In one study, for example, participants were told that certain members of a group discussion would probably like them. (These group members were chosen randomly by the experimenter.) After the discussion, participants indicated that the people they liked best were the ones who supposedly liked them.

 

  1. Display a sense of humor

Research from Illinois State University and California State University at Los Angeles found that, regardless of whether people were thinking about their ideal friend or romantic partner, having a sense of humor was really important.

Meanwhile, not having a sense of humor, especially at the office, could backfire. One study of 140 Chinese workers between ages 26 and 35 found that people were less well-liked and less popular among their colleagues if they were “morally focused.” That means they placed a high value on displaying caring, fairness, and other moral traits. The researchers explained that was because morally focused individuals were perceived as less humorous by their colleagues.

 

  1. Let them talk about themselves

Harvard researchers recently discovered that talking about yourself may be inherently rewarding, the same way that food, money, and sex are.

In one study, the researchers had participants sit in an MRI machine and respond to questions about either their own opinions or someone else’s. Results showed that the brain regions associated with motivation and reward were most active when participants were sharing information publicly — but also when they were talking about themselves, even if no one was listening.

 

Whether in your life or in the life of a hero or heroine in a book (or movie), paying attention to these seventeen techniques and selectively blending them into the characters personality in a seamless and natural manner adds depth and personality that will make them memorable.

 

For more about our books check out our author site at http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com and join our Street Team through Mail Chimp at bit.ly/23JDbk2.  We’d love to have you and you’ll get first chance at new books, free books and contest swag too.

 

 

#realityromance #contempoaryromance #characterization #storyplot #billmurray #bestsellingauthor #fiction #romanticsuspense #newadult #newadultromance #harlequin #randomhouse #penguinrandomhouse #characteracrc

LOVE’S GREAT…UNTIL ITS NOT

By Kathy Clark

Country music aficionados would recognize these lyrics from the George Strait, 2015 song titled Let It Go.  He co-wrote it with his son Bubba Strait and Keith Gattis.  Like all memorable county songs the songwriter tells a story about love, loss, and changes.

“Love’s great until it’s not
Hearts break but the world don’t stop.”

Sounds like a Reality Romance to me.

What makes a good country music song?  According to Country Song Writing for Dummies (seriously?!?) songs with a negative theme will have trouble finding a home. Also blatant downers such as “lost my baby and I’m gonna drown my sorrows in Jack Daniels” (unless they’re tongue-in-cheek) won’t make it either.

What sells best are stories of redemption, new love, reuniting with an old love, and having fun.  Add the HEA (Happily Ever After) ending, and again, it sounds like a Reality Romance.

Country music and Reality Romance have much in common.  Both are all about interesting characters, finding true love, and wonderful stories.  Just check out these excellent examples of Reality Romance plots and conflicts in song:

“If I made you feel second best, girl I’m sorry I was blind. You were always on my mind.”

Willie Nelson YOU WERE ALWAYS ON MY MIND

 

“When I’m lying wrapped up in your arms, the whole world just fades away. The only thing I hear is the beating of your heart.”

Faith Hill BREATHE

 

“Yesterday is dead and gone, and tomorrow’s out of sight, and it’s sad to be alone, help me make it through the night.”

Sammi Smith HELP ME MAKE THROIGH THE NIGHT

 

“One more day, one more time, one more sunset maybe I’d be satisified. But then again, I know what it would do, leave me wishing for one more day with you.”

Diamond Rio ONE MORE DAY

 

“Picture perfect memories scattered all around the floor.  Reaching for the phone ‘cause I can’t fight it anymore.  And I wonder if I ever cross your mind?  For me it happens all the time.” 

Lady Antebellum NEED YOU NOW

 

“She needs to know you care. She wants to know she’d needed. She needs to be held tight…Somewhere other than the night.”

Garth Brooks SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN THE NIGHT

 

“I should have kissed you.  I should have pushed you up against the wall.  I should have kissed you, just like I wasn’t scared at all.”

Gloriana KISSED YOU GOOD NIGHT

 

“Baby, if I had to choose my best day every, my finest hour, my wildest dream come true…Mine would be you.”

Blake Shelton MINE WOULD BE YOU

 

You can feel the love, the pain, the longing, and the loss in those songs.  They each tell a story that is rich with emotion and passion.  They are songs about real people living, loving, laughing, and crying.  You ache for them and you want them to succeed and be happy.  Sometimes you can relate these songs  to events and feelings in your life.

 Why write a blog about the similarities between Reality Romance novels and country music?  Because it was fun.  Who doesn’t love star-crossed lovers?  Our Reality Romance novels are about two people, searching for an HEA, but like real life, their romance is interrupted by risks and rewards, careers and failures, kids and dogs, and all the other things that make life interesting.  Add some music, and you’ve got a country hit.

We thought it would be interesting to come up with fictional country song titles for each of our most recent books.  Shown in red are possible titles. 

  • Romantic Suspense, New Adult [Indie published]
    • Due Dates I’m Having a Baby, But It’s Not Yours
      • Killeen Ames, discovers her new life comes with a man she can’t resist who doesn’t know the dark secrets of her past. 
    • Killer Date Love Means Never Letting You Die
      • Reno Marks loves women…as a whole, but he’s never been in love. In fact, he doesn’t really know what it is. In this heart-racing Romancing the Stone-like he finds a woman worth dying for. 
    • Worst Date Ever Loving You Can Kill Me
      • Tulsa Wiggins stakes out a suspected perp by moving into his luxury apartment, inadvertently setting off a chain reaction that could kill them both.
    • Erotic Romance [Loose Id and Indie published]
      • Master Suite Do It To Me One More Time
        • Together our heroine and hero explore the sensuous world of BDSM game. Unknown to him, they have a past.  Can they also have a future?
      • Fantasy Suite Let’s Make Love Like There’s No Tomorrow
        • Samantha checks in the exclusive Fini Luxury Resort & Spa near Aspen, Colorado to get over a broken heart. But her nights with a gigolo show her what she’s been missing…and what she wants forever.  
      • Romantic Suspense [Random House LLC published 3 of the 6 to date]
        • After Midnight Save Me Once. Shame On Me
          • When a hooker saves Denver Cop Sam Morgan’s life, he must find her to discover the truth. But truth is complicated and love comes when you least expect it.
        • Cries In The Night Hearts On Fire
          • Julie Lawrence is a victim’s advocate whose job is to help people who are suffering through their worst nightmare. But who will help her?  Eternal playboy Rusty Wilson fights fires and breaks hearts…until he meets Julie.
        • Deep Night Old Friends, New Lovers
          • Chris and Sara have known each other since they were children. But now they’re grown up and ready to open their hearts to love.
        • After Love Broken Hearts, Lonely Nights
          • DEA agent Nick Archer is in trouble. A K-9 partner becomes the unlikely cupid in this heart-warming story of three broken hearts learning to beat again.
        • Young Adult Romance Time Travel
          • Change The Past Just Trust Me, We’ll Find Out Together
            • The summer that began so badly becomes the most exciting and dangerous for Kelly when she is faced with the dilemma of risking her own life to save someone she doesn’t even know. Is she brave enough to risk it all…especially now that she’s felt the first promise of love?
          • Day At The Beach It’s Too Crowded Being Alone
            • When Austin and Kelly get together with their friends Scott and Zoey for a fun day at the beach on what they think is a deserted island, everything goes wrong from the very beginning. As they try to find a way off the island, Austin discovers his attraction for Kelly, but he thinks she and Scott are a couple, and he won’t do anything to hurt his best friend.
          • Runaway Lover Choose Me Now Or Lose Me Later
            • Their newest adventure takes them to a travelling circus where Zoey falls in love with a charming young man named Jesse who trains tigers. But love is complicated, especially when there is a time change of almost a hundred years and Jesse is the target of a jealous killer.
          • Forever Love Dying May Be Permanent
            • The teens take off on an excursion to the past to visit the historic Stanley Hotel. Their goal is to save a little girl named Emma from a kidnapper. Will they be able to save Emma? Or will they join her as permanent guests in the ghostly halls of The Stanley Hotel?

 

 

Find all about these novels and all our books on our website at http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com and here are the links to the books mentioned in this blog.

 

 

Romantic Suspense, New Adult [Indie published]

Due Dates amzn.to/1RG22gd

Killer Date amzn.to/1VQiH6N

Worst Date Ever amzn.to/1LUTRQY

 

Erotic Romance [Loose Id and Indie published]

Master Suite amzn.to/22apRTb

Fantasy Suite amzn.to/1TAc481

 

Mainstream romantic suspense

[Random House LLC published 3 of the 6 to date]

After Midnight amzn.to/1ZGWCYs

Cries In The Night amzn.to/1ftgfBA

Deep Night amzn.to/1pFZeJu

After Love amzn.to/1RTJIq6

 

Young Adult Romance Time Travel [Indie published]

Change The Past amzn.to/1TeQhmc

Day At The Beach amzn.to/1RnY6VB

Runaway Lover amzn.to/1MwympH

Forever Love amzn.to/1SrCaI3

 

#romance #contemporaryromance #romanticsuspense #newadult #siblings #inheritance #austin #texas #investigation #collegeromance #realityromance #bestselling #bestsellingauthor #rwaritafinalist #denver #denvercolorado #cop #fireman #deaagent #texasranger #ya #youngadult #randomhouse #timetravel #countrysong #countrymusic #countrysongtitle

SEX AT WORK Or LOOK WHO’S MAKING COFFEE!

 

By

Kathy Clark

 

What do Barrack Obama, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Taylor, Mark Zuckerberg, and Brad Pitt have in common?

They all had a workplace romance with one or more of their co-workers.  In Reality Romance novels, workplace romances are often central to the story.  Even Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele start out in his office…and we all know where that story ended up.

So what’s happening on the job while people are working nine-to-five?

The facts, based on surveys from Vault.com and Forbes give us facts about the reality of office romances.  Who’s doing it?  55% of women surveyed and 56% of men have been willing participants in some type of workplace relationship.  Career climbers?  Hardly.  Only 3% did so with the expectation of gaining pay, stature, or position.  That leaves 97% who did it just for fun or personal reasons.

How do these relationships start?  Why does it makes a good plot for a Reality Romance  novel?

  • 19% happened while traveling out of town
  • 12% “ran into each other” outside of work
  • 11% the relationship was sparked at a happy hour get together
  • 10% evolved after late nights at work together
  • 10% were lunch buddies first
  • 9% said it was love at first site

The survey leaves 29% who either didn’t volunteer how their workplace romance started.  On the other hand, we all know people who have had multiple office romances and therefore the above statistics may also include some double dipping, so to speak.

The survey led us to investigate further.  When sex was involved, here’s what people claimed:

  • 19% have done it on the job
  • 89% of those admitted to having been caught doing it

The conclusion must be that if you do it on the job, there is a very high chance of being caught.  Perhaps that’s part of the appeal.  Some people’s libido is heightened by danger or risk.

The breakdown statistics of where the romance takes place when on the job are not as clear.  The most common places to be discovered having sex at work were in the board room, the engineering lab, the stairwell, and the office kitchen.   Surprisingly, the breakroom was not a highly frequented place and the employee’s vehicle wasn’t mentioned.

 

By now you’ve got to be asking why?  In a word…attraction.  And there are three factors that lead to work place romances developing:

  • We gain attraction to others based on our familiarity and proximity to them. If you spend eight hours a day with a co-worker, and three waking hours with your spouse, this can give an office mate the advantage.
  • We spend one-third of our lives at work, dealing with the same clients and problems as our co-workers. Having something in common, even if it is on an impersonal level, can create the illusion of a deeper bond.
  • The average coworker comes to work well-groomed, nicely dressed and on their best behavior. Believe it or not, you are actually seeing the best of those you work with.

Before you toss all the research and surveys away, one more set of statistics.  Which businesses or industries are the most fertile, so to speak?

  • 72% in the insurance sector
  • 70% in education
  • 60% finance and banking
  • 59% manufacturing
  • 56% technology
  • 55% energy
  • 49% law
  • 49% accounting

Are there lessons to be learned by these eager office scoundrels?  Regardless of how things turned out, men and women would likely participate in another office romance, with 70% of men saying they would do it again.  While that number dips slightly among women, with only 62% saying they would pursue another workplace relationship if the option became available.  The general consensus on office romances amongst both sexes is clear.  Why not?

One major facet of on-the-job romances is the part that stretches beyond bosses and subordinates and co-workers. The workplace includes customers, be they clients, victims, or suspects.  That is real life which is what Reality Romances are all about.

On-the-job romances are a fact of life and, therefore, are juicy subjects in Reality Romances.  We’ve written and had published 14 novels since 2012.  Discounting the four YA time travel mystery romances in our Time Shifters series, here’s where our Reality Romance novels fall as regards work place romance stories –

  • Romantic Suspense, New Adult [Indie published]
    • Due Dates
      • Our heroine, Killeen Ames, discovers her new life comes with a man she can’t resist who doesn’t know the dark secrets of her past.  Doubly unfortunate, the man is a co-worker and now her boss.
    • Killer Date
      • Our hero in this second book in the series, Reno Marks, loves women…as a whole, but he’s never been in love. In fact, he doesn’t really know what it is. His love interest in this heart stopping Romancing the Stone like adventure and romance is not a co-worker but a client. I guess we’re expanding the Reality Romance genre to include customers and clients.
    • Worst Date Ever
      • Tulsa Wiggins, our heroine and smarter than smart, is forced to stake out a suspected perp by moving into his luxury apartment. The Reality Romance genre expands further to include suspects in more than one way. 

 

  • Erotic Romance [Loose Id and Indie published]
    • Master Suite
      • Together our heroine and hero explore the sensuous world of BDSM game play. Unknown to him, they work at the same medical facility.  The office romance begins.
    • Fantasy Suite
      • Alright, plain and simple, there is no office romance here. Just more of the Fantasy Island meets the Love Boat activity that takes place at the exclusive Fini Luxury Resort & Spa near Aspen, Colorado.

 

  • Romantic Suspense [Random House LLC published 3 of the 6 to date]
    • After Midnight
      • Our Denver, Colorado Cop, Sam Morgan, gets sideways with an on-the-job attacker and his “office romance” turns out to be his only clue to the killing of a fellow officer…providing he can keep her alive.
    • Cries In The Night
      • Our heroine, Julie Lawrence, is a victim’s advocate for the Denver Police Department and through her involvement of helping the people in the city experiencing their worst nightmare, she becomes involved with both the love of her life and the one who is out to end her life.
    • Deep Night
      • A deeply touching story of a woman’s profound healing, and the amazing man, her co-worker, who’s with her every step of the way.
    • After Love
      • One of most beloved characters in the last few years is DEA agent Nick Archer. His love interest, Jamie Chambers knows how to sniff out trouble but as you will see execution of a plan is harder than the plan. In this story, Jamie is neither a co-worker, boss nor subordinate. But it could be argued that he is her client as she provides him with his new K-9 partner, Harley.

 

Find all about these novels and all our books on our website at http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com and here are the links to the books mentioned in this blog.

Romantic Suspense, New Adult [Indie published]

Due Dates amzn.to/1RG22gd

Killer Date amzn.to/1VQiH6N

Worst Date Ever amzn.to/1LUTRQY

 

Erotic Romance [Loose Id and Indie published]

Master Suite amzn.to/22apRTb

Fantasy Suite amzn.to/1TAc481

 

Mainstream romantic suspense

[Random House LLC published 4 of the 6 to date]

After Midnight amzn.to/1ZGWCYs

Cries In The Night amzn.to/1ftgfBA

Deep Night amzn.to/1pFZeJu

After Love amzn.to/1RTJIq6

 

 

 

 

Reality Romance. It could happen to you.

By Kathy Clark

Is that book you just downloaded to your ebook reader or stuffed into your carry-on for your next plane trip a romance, fantasy, suspense, or maybe erotica?  Those are broad “genres” that publishers have established to categorize books.  But what if a book crosses genres or isn’t easily defined?

Real life doesn’t fit into a genre.  Almost everyone’s everyday activities include romance, fantasy, suspense, and, yes, even erotica.  It’s always been difficult to categorize my books because they, like real life, have elements of several genres.  That inability to classify them has made publishers nervous because their bean counters like things in neat columns and rows.  Just as people aren’t one-dimensional, neither are my books.

So, as my husband, Bob, and I were brainstorming on our wine deck, we came up with a new classification, one that crosses the boundaries and better reflects the real world.  It’s called Reality Romance.  Not everyone falls in love with a billionaire or shape shifts into a dragon or sparkles in the sunshine.  But all of us know a gorgeous hunk that happens to be a firefighter, a cop, a soldier, a teacher, or some other normal occupation.  These people are complex, interesting, mysterious, sexy, dangerous, fun, intelligent, and all those characteristics that make wonderful characters in our new genre.

They are real people, living real lives, but with a twist.  They are average…until they have to become heroes, heroines, or villains.  Their days are filled with suspense and mystery just like yours, but maybe they have a body in the closet or handcuffs in their nightstand.  And like you, they work to address their challenges and take advantage of opportunities they didn’t see coming.  Maybe the hero or heroine aren’t popping blood pressure meds and Prozac like you are, but they have failures and successes and things that raise their blood pressure and threaten their lives. . . and oh yeah, sometimes they have relationships that may or may not work out.   This is the very core of a Reality Romance.

It has been written that reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined.  Romance has been defined as a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love, a well-developed story that creates a feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life for the reader.  It’s clear that a true romance novel crosses all those invisible boundaries publishers have set.  In actuality, a good romance novel should more closely reflect real life.

Our work, over fifty books and screenplays as of the end of 2015, have several common elements regardless of the trope or genre.  Our stories have been classified as contemporary romance, suspense, romantic suspense, young adult, new adult, erotica, and even historical.  In actuality, they are:

  • Realistic, with authentic and memorable characters
  • About real people caught in new or challenging situations
  • Snappy dialogue and genuine feelings that make a reader want to jump inside the story to hang out with or perhaps help the characters
  • Believable story lines and fluid pacing that draw characters through their challenges, opportunities and situations and leave the reader cheering for the characters’ success and survival

The hero or heroine of the story can look back on the last page of any Kathy Clark novel and think it didn’t go as planned and that’s okay.

Reality romance.  A story that is well told, entertaining and has the unexpected blend of suspense, mystery, thrills, erotica, fantasy, and romance that everyone has in their life at one time or another…only more, only better and with a happy ending.

About REALITY ROMANCE AUTHOR KATHY CLARK

Kathy Clark has always been a storyteller.  She completed her first novel when she was four years old and self-published it the same year, decades before Amazon birthed the Kindle.  The Little Black Horse That Ran Away was self-illustrated and completely sold out of its first printing.  Thanks Mom!

Years later, Kathy’s first adult book was published by Dell.  Since then, she had a total of twenty-three novels published by Dell, Crown, and Harlequin.  With her husband Bob Wernly as a co-writer, they published (both traditionally and epub) an additional fourteen novels.

Nine of these fourteen books were self-published in the romantic suspense, young adult and erotic romance genres.  The remaining five published by Random House LLC as the Denver Heroes and Austin Heroes, released in 2015 and throughout 2016.

The freedom to be creative and experiment with ideas and genres has made self-publishing an amazing process.  The author team are currently developing a new contemporary romance series (with a suspense backdrop) titled BreathlessHigh altitude, high stakes, and high romance, the series will begin in 2017 with the first book, Fools Gold.  The series is set in Cripple Creek, Colorado, a colorful historic town as famous for the huge amount of gold found there as it is for its Old West-style casinos.

Their young adult genre series, Time Shifters, is a time travel romance-mystery series.  The fifth book in the award winning series is planned for a late 2016 release.

Finally, their new adult romantic suspense series, Scandals, currently has the first three books released.

With two people developing ideas, plotting, researching, writing and editing, Kathy and Bob are both busy and productive.  To be perfectly honest, Kathy and Bob would rather be riding horses, sitting on a sandy beach, watching movies or plays, and playing a round of golf every few days.  But the voices in their heads insist on coming out, so they keep writing.

For a complete list of books, screenplays, awards and more, check out Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Clark_(American_authoTheir website is at www.LoveRealityRomance.com and you can sign-up for their newsletter, the source for news, contests, giveaways and more at http://eepurl.com/Z5ypX

Bloggers are encouraged to email us at LoveRealityRomance@gmail.com for copies of books in exchange for an honest review by a professional reviewer.

#realityromance #romance #contempoaryromance #romanticsuspense #harlequin #randomhouse #amazon #barnesandnoble #googleplay #kobo #nytimesbestsellingauthor #newadult #newadultromance #genre #writingenres #trope #literaturetrop

What just happened?

We’ve taken the time to refresh the novel blurbs for eight of our most recent books and we wanted to update everyone about this.  They should be up to date on Amazon by early Monday morning and are up to date on our web site at http://www.thethrillofsuspense.com .

Here’s the latest on our New Adult series, Scandals.

Due Dates, book #1 in the Scandals Series

DUE DATES

Killeen Ames is an overachiever.  Beautiful, smart, athletic, and living with the star quarterback of the ASU team, she has it all.

Then, in the blink of an eye, her world implodes.  Her boyfriend graduates and leaves her alone and pregnant which also puts her full-ride scholarship in jeopardy and leaves her homeless.

An unlikely inheritance gives Killeen a do-over and the freedom to choose her next step and what she wants to do about the baby.  But the new life comes with a man she can’t resist who doesn’t know the dark secrets of her past.  She realizes what’s truly important when she has to make a life or death decision.

 

Killer Date, book #2 in the Scandals Series

KILLER DATE FINAL

Reno Marks has never lived by the rules.  After he escaped from his alcoholic mother,  he moved to Vegas to become a professional magician.  Forced to live underground for a while, he sees life at its lowest level.

Reno loves women…as a whole, but he’s never been in love.  In fact, he doesn’t really know what it is.  When Jenny, a beautiful pre-school teacher, comes into his life asking for help, he is struck by an emotion he’s never felt.  Could it be love?

Unfortunately, Jenny realizes he’s a bad boy she doesn’t have time to tame.  It’s going to take Reno stepping way outside his comfort zone to convince her he’s worth saving.

 

Worst Date Ever, book #3 in the Scandals Series

WORST DATE EVER

Tulsa Wiggins was abandoned on a doorstep by her mother.  She has always been alone, whether trying to survive in a foster home or making her way in the world.  Her talent for computer technology has made her an expert in cyber security, which is perfect for a person who doesn’t know how to get along with others.

When she’s forced to move in with Cody, a super-hot fireman, Tulsa discovers how it feels to love and be loved.  But he’s a player who might also be a killer.

Can she handle the challenge of falling in love while her heart is at risk and her life is in danger?

 

Here’s the latest on our Young Adult time travel mystery romance series, Time Shifters

Change The Past, book #1 in the Time Shifters Series

TIME SHIFTERS Change The Past

Kelly Welch’s sixteenth summer was supposed to be the best ever.  Long, lazy days with her friends and her horse in Texas.  But her life changes in an instant.

Her unexpected move to Fort Myers Beach, Florida leaves her lonely and frightened.  Living with a workaholic aunt she barely knows and looking to start a school where she’s the new girl makes her anxious and unhappy.

Until she meets Scott.  He is smart and nerdy, sort of like her, and they hit it off right away.  His best friend, handsome, athletic Austin joins them on a surprise adventure back to the past and adds an unexpected complication.

The summer that began so badly becomes the most exciting and dangerous one of her life when she is faced with the dilemma of risking her own life to save someone she doesn’t even know.  Is she brave enough to risk it all…especially now that she’s felt the first promise of love?

 

TIME SHIFTERS Day At The Beach

Austin Burke lives for football.  He’s the star quarterback at South Beach High School with the bright future in college and maybe professional football.  He isn’t looking for a girlfriend, but then he meets Kelly.  She’s brave and funny and can beat him at their favorite video game.

When Austin and Kelly get together with their friends Scott and Zoey for a fun day at the beach on what they think is a deserted island, it goes wrong from the very beginning.  They are surprised to find a group of people led by a very frightening man.  As they try to find a way off the island, Austin discovers his attraction for Kelly, but he thinks she and Scott are a couple, and he won’t do anything to hurt his best friend.

But then they are attacked by a crazed criminal who is determined to leave no survivors.  The teens must work together, and Austin takes charge to attempt to bring them home safely.

 

TIME SHIFTERS Runaway Lover

Zoey Chandler is popular, beautiful, and rich.  Her most important achievement is that she is on the cheer squad.  That is, until she accidentally is swept along on a crazy adventure with Austin, Kelly, and Scott.  She discovers there is more to life than having a good hair day.

Their newest adventure takes them to a travelling circus where Zoey falls in love with a charming young man named Jesse who trains tigers.  Kelly and Austin get closer as the teens learn new jobs and experience a lifestyle very different than they’ve ever known.  But love is complicated, especially when there is a time change of almost a hundred years and Jesse is the target of a jealous killer.

If they can save him, how can Zoey make the difficult decision of whether to give up the life she knows and loves for a boy in a different time who has stolen her heart?

 

TIME SHIFTERS Forever Love

Kelly and Austin are left alone while everyone else is on vacation trips with their families.  They celebrate the Fourth of July together and grow closer than ever.

But as soon as Scott and Zoey return, the teens take off on an excursion to the past to visit the historic Stanley Hotel.  Their goal is to save a little girl named Emma from a kidnapper, but as they celebrate another Fourth of July, Kelly is swept away by her first real kiss.

The teens experience a new and hard lifestyle, all the while hoping to see if the stories about ghosts are true.  They meet a lot of interesting people, even some very famous ones, but everyone seems normal.

As they face their first defeat, they are caught by surprise when the same danger that takes Emma also threatens the teens when one of their own is captured in a killer’s web.  Will they be able to save Emma?  Or will they join her as permanent guests in the ghostly halls of The Stanley Hotel?

You don’t have to believe in ghosts…until you meet one.

 

Finally, our single title, Life’s What Happens

Life's What Happens Amazon sized

The email about the gathering popped up on Don Williams’s smart phone and he found himself obediently driving back to the small college town where events years ago shook the world and changed his life forever.  A morbid curiosity or a second look from a more mature point of view, he found himself driving up the long fraternity house driveway.  It took him longer than expected as his driving tour of the campus pulled his imagination back in time.

What happened next rocked his belief in the past and present.  The recollections of his past lovers, friends and events raced into focus and quickly overlaid the reality of now.  His ability to change the past and influence the present blurred the lines between what he knew and what he remembered and his trip consumed him.

He relived a college life that spiraled out of control in spite of his best efforts to graduate.  With everyone who mattered to him then, he mourned and celebrated the changes that have occurred since.  For college life then and now more has stayed the same than not.  LIFE’S WHAT HAPPENS is their story, as each is faced with questions much more complicated than any generation past. It is about the year they turned from boys to men, and where their choices took them.

Based on actual events, this is the unwritten story of what really followed the summer that became the most famous summer ever in song and memories.

 

Please remember, all these books and all the blacklist of classic romance novels are free.  Simply leave a review on Amazon on any book and fill out the form on the first age of our website and you’ll receive your FREE book direct via email.

0000000000000a7