Tropey Tropes!

Been a lot of criticism lately of the way genre novels (and others) often employ “tropes” – what MW online calls “a common or overused theme or device.” The assumption, of course, is that the occurrence of a trope in a book means the author is full of cliches, has no imagination, and cannot write their way out of a soggy paper bag. I mean, if you were a REAL writer, you’d come up with stuff that was so unexpected and meaningful that nobody has ever thought of it before!


We’re humans, and we think up shit constantly. No matter what it is, somebody already thought of that. Tropes are actually, for writers, more of a shorthand way of identifying or including elements in a story that readers are known to seek. Tropes are akin to genre fiction itself, except in more detail — they’re like going to a restaurant that has things on the menu that you recognize. You order spaghetti (or romance books) because you want some damn spaghetti. And you order meatballs on your spaghetti (or a best friends to lovers trope) because you like you some damn meatballs.

The meatballs and spaghetti at this restaurant, and the best friends to lovers story by this author, taste different from other restaurants. And you love them more or less. You might even recommend them to friends. And you love spaghetti and meatballs regardless, even if you just had a plateful last week.

Because spaghetti. And best friends to lovers romances.

Am I right?

Hint: yes, I am right.

ANYWAY, this is all just because I found this list of tropes on author Mindy Klasky’s website and I wanted to share it!

I’m also going to start including the tropes I sprinkle into my books at the bottom of the blurb, for those of you looking for spaghetti WITH meatballs.

Jody W.

PS — Best friends to lovers is one of my favorites. My stories that employ this trope are: Kiss the Bride, Liam’s Gold, Holiday on Ice, and Pack and Coven 


Going Out Of Print…

Sadly, one of my first ever publishers, Samhain Publishing, is going out of business at the end of the month. If you got any of my books there, be sure to download them before February is over! Books that will be temporarily out of print include:


Survival of the Fairest
1000 Kisses
Liam’s Gold




What She Deserves
Claustrophobic Christmas

Actually I’ve requested and received the rights back to Kiss the Bride, with Entangled, since it’s a Tallwood Tall Tale as well, and I guess the Tallwood books need to stick together.

I already republished A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH with a beautiful new cover, which was my first published novel with Samhain, and I hope to share new, improved and possibly CONTINUED versions of the above books and series with you during 2017 and 2018.

Are any of the books mentioned a favorite? What should I do first besides dare to pet that cat on her belly?


Jody & Meankitty


Should Genre Romance Novels Have Happy Endings?

pummieShould BLTs have bacon, lettuce and tomato?

Should mac and cheese have, I dunno, mac and cheese in it?

Should moo goo gai pan have chicken in it?

Should soup have some broth?

Should food you order off the damned menu roughly match the description of said food, even if it also contains surprising and hopefully delicious additional elements, herbs and spices?

Why yes, yes it should.

So yes — genre romance novels should have uplifting conclusions where the central love story in the book works out in the end and the characters don’t die because DRAMAZ and REAL LIFE and LITRACHER. My HEA bacon doesn’t have to be a damned wedding and babies, but it should be a salty, meaty, delicious something or other that’s slightly chewy while also being crispy.

Here’s some truth. I know my tastes. If I want a novel with an ambiguous ending, I know what to order off the menu to get it. If I want to be scared by a book, I know what to order off the menu to get it. If I want realism and tears, I know where to order that shit up. If I have no preferences whatsoever but just want to read a book, I know how to make that happen, too.

Giving me shitburger gorgonzola casserole when I ordered an effing BLT Romance doesn’t expand my palate or broaden my horizons. It just makes you a really bad restaurant.

When I read a romance novel, I want HEA, lettuce and tomato.

Jody W & Meankitty


Is This My New Blurb?

ASpellforSusannah600You tell me:

Twelve bored royal daughters in a kingdom where the nobility has been cursed to bear no male children. One sly detective who’s been tasked to find out where the ladies disappear to at night. What’s a princess to do?

If you’re Princess Susannah, the eldest of the twelve princesses, you research inheritance laws and curse-breaking magic until you develop the ability to work magic yourself. You might use that magic to accidentally discover an enchanted land beneath your palace where hundreds of amnesiac princes dance and cavort all night long.

If you’re the King and Queen, you hire a professional to find out how your daughters are ruining their dancing shoes on a regular basis, despite all the measures you’ve taken to keep them safe and sound. And for that delicate job, you choose the handsome detective who instantly gets under your eldest daughter’s skin.

But enchantments won’t fix the Middle Kingdoms’ patriarchal laws, and the fairies won’t be pleased if they discover a mere mortal has learned to cast spells.

No, seriously. Is that a good blurb??

Jody Wallace
Smart. Snarky. Seductive. And that’s just the books. *

Dear Reviewers

I am sitting here today, tired and worn out after a couple tough family-crisis weeks, and my defenses are down, so I’d like to share something with you.

You probably don’t know me, because I haven’t been either notoriously awful or notoriously wonderful, but I’d really like for you to review my books. I’d like readers to read them, and I’d like readers who are inclined to review to feel completely safe in doing so. Without readers, I may as well spend my time crocheting penises or something.


I probably won’t READ the review, unless you, for whatever reason, specifically contact me and ask me to, because I believe reviews are for your fellow readers. Reviewing and conversing about books and stories is a Great Pleasure.

I won’t kill you off in a book. I’ve already got my list filled out of people I despise, and you’re not on it.

I will not hunt you down, cyberly or otherwise.

I will not subtweet about you and bestir my mob of fans (HAHAH) to snark on you.

I don’t have a street team, anyway, because the one time somebody suggested it might be a good idea, I asked if I could call them Wallace’s Street Weasels, and that venture pretty much ended right there.

I won’t tell all my editors and writer friends, should you also happen to be a writer, that they need to blacklist you or give you the cut direct.

My mom definitely won’t come after you because she, quite frankly, thinks I could do better. Except at cooking. She’s pretty happy when I do the cooking.

Meankitty won’t make a bunch of memes about how dumb readers are, although she does consider most humans pretty dumb.


Since your reviews aren’t shrimp snacks, she’s just all, “Whatever, human.”

If your reviews ARE somehow shrimp snacks, I think that’s amazing and you should patent it.

My excuse for this maudlin post is I’m dealing with some un-fun non-career life challenges, and I wanted to focus on something I like about being a writer, which is the chance to share my shizz with other human beings. Not in the stripper way, because I’m tap dancer, not a pole dancer, but in the words and ideas way.

Here is another thing I like about being a writer.


The fact that Kid2 is now in school instead of doing this to me the whole GD day. AND, now that she’s in school, she’s mad-crazy for reading. Just loves it! I don’t let her read my books, but you can, if you want and if you’re old enough, because some of my stuff’s kinda raunchy.


Jody W.

Are You A Serious Writer?

I just realized something.

Five years ago, the word on the “street” was that you couldn’t be a serious, professional writer if you PAID to get published. If you paid for covers, paid a publisher, paid for editing, and so on. You were only serious if you bagged a publisher and possibly an agent based on the strength of your writing who did all those things for you. People pay YOU. You do not pay PEOPLE.

Now, with the advent of self publishing, there are certain streets on which the word is that you aren’t a serious, professional writer unless you spend a LOT of money to get published. You have to buy a really, really nice cover, you have to pay for several rounds of edits, you may have to pay for formatting if you can’t do it yourself, you may need to pay for translating, and I don’t even know what else.

It’s changed from “If you spend money, you aren’t serious,” to “The more you spend, the more serious you are.”

Unfortunately, I’m kind of serious about buying groceries and keeping the mortgage up to date, too, which complicates the journey no matter what street you’re on!

Jody W.  *

To Haters of the Romance Genre

To people who think romance novels are for weak-brained individuals because only teenage girls and stupid people dwell on human relationships or anything that has a happy ending to a romantic relationship, since that’s just not real life, man, and you’re not that shallow with your big ole brain which you use for more important things than thinking about the Romance and the Sex and the Happy:

That explains why your life sucks. Bless your poor little heart.

A happy and not particularly small brained romance writer and reader

How To Respond To Negative Reviews, Take 2

Meankitty does appreciate what is in your heart, scorned writer.

That being said, Meankitty would like you to keep in mind that a book is not a baby, because babies eventually grow up to be two-leggers who can open the fridge for you while books are just things that take a human’s attention away from what is important: cats.

Meankitty & JW *

How To Respond To Negative Reviews, Take 1

Much ado has been made and continues to be made about how artists should or should not respond to reviews of their work. The first artist who responded publicly to a poor review of his work was A. Non, who wrote Beowulf. It is reported that, when criticisms from a particular sect of useless cavedwellers who could barely rub two sticks together to make fire objected to the overuse of the phrase “whale’s road”, not to mention all that damned alliteration, that Non got all his club waving buddies to go to their cave and trash it. However, as with all reports heard twenty-thousandsth-hand, it’s best to take such stories with a grain of salt. Likely the club wavers just said mean stuff from several yards outside the cave.

Anyway, I’m writing today because Meankitty wants to make some helpful suggestions for authors confused by their inner demons, by their friends, by their instincts, by their end stinks, and by conflicting advice as to how to respond to negative reviews. Here is her first suggestion, presented without comment:


Jody W. & Meankitty *