“R” is for Romantalicious.
What? That’s not a real word you say? Well, just look at it sitting there on the page. Fun. Dazzling. Silly. Innovative. Inviting. Doesn’t it apply perfectly to chick lit?
In romance novels, the reader watches a romantic relationship develop step by step, with the hero and heroine present (and misbehaving) in every scene. Success and satisfaction in the heroine’s journey is measured by seeing her land that guy. But we’re talking chick lit here. While romance is important to chick lit, it’s not the only thread. There may also be elements of mystery, adventure, family issues, work woes, and nearly any problem of modern womanhood that can be dreamed up and played with on the page. Yep. In chick lit, we play on the page–and humor is what binds our books together.
Chick lit gives a broader feel for a woman’s life: warts, laundry, acrobatic training, multiple boyfriends, and all. The chick lit main character (we don’t call her a heroine) is goofy and weird and klutzy and human. She may be tall or wide or only have one eye. She may be an overachiever or have a superpower. She may solve mysteries in Japan (see Stephanie J. Pajonas’s The Daydreamer Detective) or have an embarrassing weakness for Hostess Ho Hos (see Katheryn Kopach Biel’s I’m Still Here). She may constantly quote movie and TV lines (see Geralyn Corcillo’s Miss Adventure) as she tackles a life problem on her own, or with her sidekick(s). And she may be hella tall and get into dangerous situations where she needs saving–and have to save herself (see my Roll with the Punches). Men are not necessary to her survival. They’re nice, sexy, maybe even too cool for school, but not vital. The most important thing in the story is getting through life with a laugh. And wine. And possibly fashion.
So the romance in a chick lit story is often much lighter and sillier than that in a romance novel. Chick lit romance is comedic, feathery, offbeat, and … romantalicious. No ten-page sex scenes here. Chick lit readers prefer two pages of goofy, delicious near-sex, including a tad of realism. After all, how many times does a romantic encounter come off perfectly in real life? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Here’s an example of a romantalicious scene from my book, Roll with the Punches.
“My goodness, Little Red Riding Hood,” (James) laughed. “Tired of Grandma Yvette being around every corner? Let Mr. Wolf take the sting out.” He took the book and laptop, set them on the flowered day bed, and pulled me close. “I’m sorry, Rhonda. She’s a bit rabid. But that Jackson, now he’s evil. Stealing your stuff wholesale, wrecking your career and your dreams. I’d like to deck him.”
Or her. My heart still beat fast from the confrontation with Yvette. But at least James believed me over her. I relaxed, breathing in his smell: hospital soap and breath mints. And found my voice. “She thinks I’m crazy.” I gulped air. “Or a criminal. I’d like to …”
He wrapped his arms around me. “Shh. I think I found something. Remember Marcella Anderson? She’s got a son connected to the Enron scandal. He may be the guy we’re looking for.”
“No, forget about Marcella.” I said. “The final changes from the last summer rewrite are in the book, so she can’t be the culprit. But please don’t tell anyone yet.”
“Don’t be too hasty.” He kissed my hair. At which point I should have turned all liquidy, but my mind was whirling about Yvette and the book and who could have taken it and why.
He kissed my neck, and I pulled back, distracted. “Who? Who? Who took my book in the summer?”
Jackie called us from the living room.
This bedroom had a very big closet. Laughing, James scooped up the book and computer and took my hand and pulled me inside it. Then I found myself crouched down under the clothes rod, crammed between Jackie’s fancy dresses and over six feet of sexy man-hunk.
He said, “Well, the group is not exactly out of the clear yet. Jackie was a Communist in college, you know. She got in pretty heavy with all those Greenpeacers and environmentalists and shit. And neither George nor Marian has sold a book all year, so they must have a monetary motive.” His hands went for my breasts. “Did you like my roses?”
“Uh,” I stammered. The closet reeked of mothballs. My eyes teared up as Jackie’s letters slipped down my front. I tried to nudge them back up and they crackled.
I talked to cover up the sound. “The roses—very nice. How did you get Yvette …”
Mothballs had never been my friend, and now they were burning my sinuses something awful. James leaned in to kiss me just as I wiped my dripping nose on my sleeve. My elbow whacked his chin.
“Ouch.” He sounded peeved.
Steps came down the hall.
James held a finger to his lips as the bedroom door opened, then closed. Then suddenly, he was sitting down. He pulled me onto his lap and his tongue made its way halfway down my throat. Reflexively, my hands went under his shirt. Amazing realization: Tattoos didn’t matter in the dark. Now, if an image of Dal’s nose would just leave my mind screen.
James’s hands hit the letter paper on my stomach.
“That a girdle?” he laughed. “Or stuffing?”
I thought fast. “Take your shirt off, big boy.” I pulled the edge of his shirt up over his head and left it there.
“Ooh, you’re one hot author.” As he pulled it off, I dropped the epistles behind me to the shoe-infested closet floor.
“But I just can’t see Jackie or George—” I tried, but suddenly, my shirt was unbuttoned and his hands and lips were an assault on me. And so were the mothballs. I started to wheeze as his lips found my neck. “Listen. This could be fun, but I can’t breathe.”
He breathed hotly in my ear. “Hmmm. Your bra needs loosening,” he crooned, unfastening my front bra snap, “And your laptop needs to be checked for hacking.”
Huh? My laptop? Odd subject for foreplay. Oh, well. I tried to respond in kind. “But I need it, big boy. Check it fast, okay?”
He plunged a hand down my pants.
“Not that fast!” Ticklish, I bolted up to a bent stand, laughing and wheezing and swatting at his hands. I’d always envisioned passionate lovemaking with James, but this …”Slow down!”
“Better safe than sorry.” He started to rise, still caressing my jean-clad backside.
Was this the romantic tryst I’d imagined for months?
“Safe?” My insulted lungs and the images of the group’s worried faces wilted any lust I might have had. “I’m not safe,” I wheezed, pushing his hands away. “I’m having an asthma attack.”
“Safe for your motherboard.” Laughing, he reached over and unzipped my jeans, then yanked them down.
“Stop!” I shot up straight, hitting my head on the clothes rod. “Ouch!” I wheezed and my knee jerked up, pushing him into the door, which popped open, sending him toppling out of the closet.
I tried to follow, but something pulled hard at my hair. “Ouch! Ack! I’m stuck! I can’t move.”
Dazed, he straightened up, all tousled and gorgeous in the light, and examined my hair, which got caught more tightly with my every move I made.
“Oops. Designer jacket. Your hair’s caught on the beads. We’ll have to cut it off.” He pulled the jacket’s wooden hanger off the rod and walked me out into the room, where he produced a pocket knife. I took one look at the blade and lurched away from it. He lost his grip on the heavy hanger, which fell, bonking my shoulder and yanking my scalp to China. I howled in pain and flailed around, narrowly missing being impaled by the knife.
And there was Jackie in the doorway. “Oh, it’s not the cats. It’s you. Pants down. At knife point. God love ya.”
There you have it. A romantalicious chick lit scene: kinda hot, kinda sexy, kinda closetus interruptus. With the requisite beaded designer jackets and fancy shoes. What else did you expect? Here’s hoping the next book you read is full of romantalicious chick lit scenes.
And here’s hoping you read it on your new Kindle Paperwhite. See details below.
Are you a book junkie? Want to win a Kindle Paperwhite + a $100 Amazon gift card? Visit each of the 26 stops on the #ChickLitMay A to Z Scavenger Hunt and collect the alphabet word at each stop (A, B, C, D, etc.), then submit the A-Z list of words via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “A to Z Scavenger Hunt Entry.” Entries will be accepted until Sunday, May 22nd at midnight E.D.T. A winner will be chosen on Monday, May 23rd. Good luck!
The next stop on this Scavenger Hunt is the letter “S,” which is at
If you’d like to start back at the beginning of the Scavenger Hunt with the letter “A,” go to http://katieoliver.com/ko/2016/05/chick-lit-a-to-z-scavenger-hunt/
Amy Gettinger’s books:
Roll with the Punches
What happens when the novel you’ve just finished writing and started hawking to agents gets published by a nationally bestselling author—just when Dad starts storing milk in the tool chest? You hunt for the book thief, of course, aided by a goofy roller derby team and two drool-worthy guys. Whether skating in treacherous derby bouts or downhill chasing Dad, one thing is sure: you’d better not fall, girl. http://myBook.to/RWTP
Alice in Monologue Land
Practice your snort laugh! College instructor Alice is headed down the campus rabbit hole into a world of adventure, romance, and danger. Add a splash of chaos and some cringe-producing talk of female body parts–on stage. But her students are going missing. Can Alice find them in this “carnival ride of a tale with more spins than a tilt-a-whirl?” ~ #DiiBylo of Tome Tender Blog http://myBook.to/Alice
Kiss My Sweet Skull
A collection of seasonal short stories featuring the faculty and students of Garden Beach College, the fictional home of my novel, Alice in Monologue Land.
“Cupid, with a Eucalyptus Tree, in the Teachers’ Workroom”: Annabelle Lopez’s anonymously delivered valentine is so perfect that she knows her soul mate is tantalizingly close by, except none of the local candidates seems quite right.
“Apples and Goat Cheese, and a Red Bikini (In France!)”: Frannie, an au pair girl for a surfing family on the sunny French Riviera, finds romance … and trouble lurking in the dark. The clue could be in the apples and goat cheese.
“Kiss My Sweet Skull”: Is pumpkin pie seriously the best answer for anthropology professor Dr. Betty Hundleby’s awful skull nightmares at Halloween? Or could an oddly timed kiss be just the thing she needs? http://myBook.to/Skull