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"Chloe Harris" really is the pseudonym for two writers, Noelle and Barbra, who've joined forces to write intriguing and sexy stories. A quintessential eccentric southerner, Noelle seems to find a story in almost everything. Ever ambitious to change her stars, she has a degree in Communications. Barbra lives together with her cat ('Princess Mimi'), who isn't very happy that she is spending so much time on writing. But this folly of the living can opener with opposable thumbs is mostly tolerated.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Category Virgin Tells All About Her First Time - (The cherry was chocolate covered)

The other day the thought hit me out of the blue that I was going to finally read a category romance and write about my Silhouette deflowerment. I didn't go into this completely innocent, there is a lot of talk about Category Romance on the different blogs I read and I've met several writers in that genre so I thought I knew a lot of stuff about them, I've just never had a desire to read one.
First of all, most of the titles are just so ridiculous like the one in back ad of the book I read, "The Future Kings Pregnant Mistress". Are you kidding me? It's hard to imagine how anything with a title that silly could be good.
Also the formulas seem so rigid I couldn't see how they could be original or interesting. Rich man + Cinderella + hook from the approved list = Book. How many times can that be done well?
And probably the worst of my opinions was that since the word count is short that they would be choppy, nondescript and written at, well, a lower reading level. I mean if you have talent why waste it with those silly things. But don't think too harshly of me, I just didn't know any better.
Your first time should always be with someone you trust. That's why I choose Emilie Rose's The Millionaires Indecent Proposal, Silhouette Desire #1804 June 2007. An autographed copy has been sitting on my bookshelf since the Moonlight and Magnolia's conference last October. Emilie is a great person and has always been open and gracious with her writing advice. But as much as I admire her as a writer and marvel at her ability to be successful within such a restrictive framework I was sure her books just weren't for me. I was wrong.
Going into this I was cautious and a little naive much like laid off accountant, Stacy Reeves. Thank goodness my first experience was sexy and oh so very satisfying. Kinda of like Franco Constantine, millionaire heir to a chocolate covered empire. Franco is determined to save both his father and himself from the gold-diggers of the world, which in his eyes is all of womankind. While Stacy hates all rich men after running from a rich abusive father most of her life. Franco's father makes a bet with him to prove his son's opinion of women wrong with Midas Chocolates as the prize. When Franco meets Stacy in Monte Carlo where they are both members of the same wedding party the indecent proposal is made and accepted. Sexy man, woman in need of a sexy man, beautiful setting and plenty of conflict so what's not to like on a sunny day by the pool or a cloudy day on the couch while you, like Stacy, ponder your new employment status.
Cheesy titles aside that the author has no control over, I was wrong about everything else. Yes this story has a Pretty Woman/Cinderella vibe to it but so what, it's a great story with a familiar theme. There is a reason why classic themes in literature and entertainment endure, we love them and we don't mind well written versions of them over and over again. They're as timeless as love and sex themselves.
And there was nothing choppy or simple about the writing. It was tight yes, but without losing any sense of the gorgeous setting or the deep emotions. Although the sex scenes were short they had great impact in those few words. The sexiest scene of all isn't even on the page. He mentions his plans for the night beforehand and she mentions it again briefly after the fact. I couldn't get the scene out of my head and technically it was only ever in my head. And there is no denying the vocabulary was rich and varied and the whole thing was intelligently written. Luckily me, my first time was magical.
I have a feeling though that all categories, like all men, are not created equal. There are ones that can rock your world, ones that put you to sleep fast and some that you can take or leave. But, I will read more categories, at least the other two in this series and I will never forget my first time. It will always be special and I will always be grateful that Emilie let Franco rock my world. 
- Noelle

1 comment:

Amy Clipston said...

I really enjoyed this post! I've read a handful of category romances and I was also pleasantly surprised. I'll have to check out Emilie's books! Thanks for sharing a great book!