Sunday, January 4, 2009

Where have all the gamma males gone?

The alpha male. Given writer Lise Horton’s astute comment from yesterday, I just have to keep going. First I have to tell you a little about Lise and how I “met” her.

She’s a virtual friend, which speaks to our burgeoning electronic society today. It’s not just for adolescents anymore! I met Lise because she coordinated a contest for a chapter of the Romance Writers of America. For those who aren’t familiar, RWA is an enormous international organization, subdivided into smaller chapters. Some of these chapters are regional and involve bricks & mortar meetings, while others are organized by topic and exist only on the internet. And many of these chapters conduct writing contests. These contests are extraordinary in my experience in the world of writing, because they almost all offer putting your manuscript in front of an agent or editor, either as the prize or as the final round of judging. There are a lot of contests and you can choose by which agent or editor’s desk you’d really love to sprawl across. Manuscriptually speaking, of course.

Lise is an amazing gal because she read EVERY ENTRY for the contest she coordinated. And, though I didn’t final in that contest, in the “so sorry” email she wrote to me, she told me her impressions of my manuscript, which were really complimentary. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. I bill my book, Obsidian, as paranormal romance. Again, this is an RWA thing, but it means a story with sci fi/fantasy elements that’s also built around a love story. Only in my story, the heroine doesn’t meet the hero right away (she’s too busy with being unexpectedly dumped in fairyland) and he’s more of an antihero anyway, being a mercurial and manipulative fae, and the love relationship is more of a love/hate thing (c/f: mercurial and manipulative). At any rate, Lise gave me much-needed words of encouragement that, though my book doesn’t fit the mold, there is a place for it in the world.

Now, I don’t know how many contest coordinators read every entry. Lise said she did it because she felt a responsibility to have a sense of the manuscripts, so she’d know something about them to make sure the judging was fair. I thought it was a spectacular assumption of responsibility.

Plus, Lise has such interesting things to say about the alpha – and, lest we forget, the beta – males. She’s right: romance is escapist entertainment. And so the fantasy of the man who can take control of a chaotic world and make it perfect for us is the ultimate escape. Yes, dress me in designer clothes, plop me at a resort and make sure nothing unpleasant ever happens to me. It’s not reality. It’s not even what we really want. But for escape? Sign me up!


  1. Aw,shucks, Jeffe! I'm blushing here! Besides, it was no hardship when I had entries like yours! In my mind, you can take the most basic of premises, for example- an alpha male, a heroine looking for love and a resort. Sounds cliched? But when the author has a unique voice and a deft hand with characters, what will be produced will be an entertaining story that lets us get to know these two "stock" characters who've been given a new lease on life by a talented writer. Like your Blog Host, Ms. Kennedy. I will always give an author with a strong and unique voice my time and attention.

  2. If the RWA is so international, shouldn't it be the Romance Writers of America And Friends, or Romance Writers of Earth or something?


Related Posts with Thumbnails