Strange Brew Video Review by Fangirl Musings





Now, if you’ll pardon me a moment …

Okay! Let me start off by giving a massive thanks to Fangirl Musings (you can subscribe to her youtube channel here) for her many kind words and making my head explode! I certainly wasn’t expecting this when she said she’d purchased Strange Brew a few months ago, but I’m definitely glad she enjoyed it enough to feel it warranted one of her spiffy, awesomesauce video reviews! (No, really, you guys have no idea how hard my mind was blown by this!).

I also wanted to take the time to comment on something she suggests because it almost feels as if she was reading my friggin’ mind! Glowing praise aside, she mentions in her critique that the romance between Troy and Aislinn didn’t actually seem entirely well developed and suggests it may be due to the 5 day time jump after their first meet up. I found this extremely intriguing because! During the process of writing Strange Brew, I’d contemplated that time jump more than once. I recall thinking specifically, “Okay, you’re kind of glossing over the period in which this couple sings, “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me!”

I’d agonized over this and tried to think of any way I might be able to add some story there that would flesh things out a little more thoroughly without bogging the rest of the book down. That time period is described as Troy and Aislinn bickering a lot because, well, he won’t leave her alone! Werewolf wants his woman and doesn’t understand what she’s going through at that point! In any case, the word count for all of my books is 100k words (typically industry standard) and as I proceeded to write the rest of the book, I reached this word limit, and also couldn’t think of much to add that wouldn’t bog the story flow down anyway. (Whenever writer’s say the story has a life of its own and takes them wherever it goes, they’re not just whistling dixie!).

So ultimately, it stayed the way it is now (though I did find amusement in the fact that Troy decided it would take two-three days tops to convince Aislinn, and then it’s like a week later). Anyway, I wanted to mention this because it’s just really weird that I had that insight and then she mentioned it in this video! GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE! <3

In any case, I'm so, so glad the book was enjoyable overall! If for no other reason, you guys should watch this because it's LOLtastic! But if you're into romance, I'd suggest subscribing to her channel because she reviews a LOT of romances that you might wanna read!

And, if this video interests you in Strange Brew, click here for more information!

Cheers! :D

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The Crucible Series Book 8: Cast Into Shadow Cover Reveal & Synopsis

The Crucible Paranormal Romance Series Book Eight: Cast Into Shadow

As an intelligence agent for The Bastion, Jennifer Kivsey usually works behind a desk, assisting other operatives from afar by supplying information whenever it’s needed. But the one time she volunteers to travel during an investigation, her journey takes her much farther from home than anticipated.
After discovering a random portal, Kivsey is unexpectedly pulled through worlds and stranded in the dark, underground caverns of Ithelyon. In immediate danger, she’ll need help if she wants to survive long enough to return home, and a random encounter with a Dok’aal Warlord could provide just that.
The problem? She’s part elven, and Dok’aal are notoriously leery of elves.
Mikail is a Warlord serving the hidden, subterranean city of Satorala, and his highest priority is the safety of his people. So allowing a stranded human to wander about and potentially discover the location of his home is out of the question, meaning he has no choice but to help her find her way.
But despite their inherent differences, Mikail quickly discovers that Kivsey isn’t the helpless human he’d expected. She’s clever, witty, compassionate, and soon has him wondering if she could be the woman he’s been dreaming of. Likewise, Kivsey finds the Warlord as sexy as he is suspicious, but how could a union ever be possible with two worlds standing between them?

Estimated Release: Winter 2017

Author’s Notes

So, for those of you who’ve read Fallen Hearts and had any interest in knowing what happened to Kivsey, here you go!–though the blurb only gives a vague idea about what’s happened to her and how/why she disappeared. Still, this story has been kicking around for quite some time now, and I’m excited to share it!

As for Mikail, the Dok’aal Warlord mentioned in the blurb, his race was featured in The Final Calling, but what was mentioned was really pretty vague. So to give a more thorough explanation, Dok’aal are Dark Elves, a.k.a. Half Elven and Half Demon (Perosian). In The Crucible Series, Dark Elves can be physically described as having argent skin tones ranging from light silvery to jet, typically white hair, and glowing eyes of all colors. They might also have pointed ears, fanged canines, and slitted pupils.

The Dok’aal are also briefly mentioned on my post about The Pantheon (read Satora’s blurb), and personally, Dark Elves are one of my favorite mythological races. So I’m really excited about this story, and the chance to finally introduce the Dok’aal into The Crucible Series in a more official capacity.

I’m not sure about the release date yet. I’ve listed Winter 2017 as the estimated release, but I’m hoping it’ll be closer to late fall. Either way, I hope you guys enjoy it when you get it, and I’ll share some excerpts as soon as I have something decent! :D

Cheers!

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The Crucible Series Bestiary

For a number of months now, I’ve been planning out a bestiary, and let me say, it is not easy! Those of you who’ve read my series know there are a good number of creatures featured across the books, so there’s a lot to get down! Some of these are based on classic mythology, some on urban legend, and others were just made up from scratch. So I thought some people might appreciate having them listed together in one place, the only problem is that it’s been hard for me to find time lately to actually finish it!

So, since progress on that front has been so slow, I thought I might hop over here to post some of the creatures I do have listings for! If you’re curious, some of my favorites include Brutes, Ghouls, and Will-o-Wisps! :)

• • •

Brute: A type of Sentinel based on necromancy. Instead of conjuring an animated suit of armor, a necromancer reanimates a corpse to serve their whims. Like Sentinels, Brutes do not require food or sleep, and will regenerate lost limbs with uncanny speed. They can also be programmed with a few basic commands due to their very limited intelligence. Yet these creatures are too powerful to be made and controlled in multiple numbers, and can be destroyed without killing the necromancer controlling them.

Physical abilities are dependant on the type of creature used to make the Brute, but all possess the ability to move in an out of Limbo, the Plane of the Dead. Oftentimes, the only warning a Brute is nearby is the putrid stench of decay just before they strike.

• • •

Cockatrice: A reptilian creature with the head of a rooster. Cockatrices vary in size, the biggest usually comparable to an ostrich, though some have been known to grow larger. Able to move at frightening speeds, particularly when sprinting, these animals can stun prey with their gazes, preventing escape for long enough to strike. Cockatrice eggs are sometimes used in magic spells meant to stun enemies.

• • •

Drake: A member of dragonkind, drakes are powerful animals and are typically more even tempered than their wyvern cousins. This, along with their physical builds, make them much more suitable for mounting and riding. Most drakes grow to fifteen feet in size, and may or may not possess wings. Due to the draconian practice of raising these beasts to perform in the ranks of the Skyriders, they haven’t been hunted for their scales nearly as often as wyverns.

These animals are found in five colors, each with a different ability (i.e., breathing fire (red), lightning (blue), poisonous acid (green), frost (white), or firing a psionic burst (black)).

• • •

Ghoul: Humans who remain daywalkers eventually transform into monsters known as ghouls. These mindless creatures operate on sheer instinct, which is a drive to consume flesh and blood. Physically, ghouls are grotesque, with large, empty black eyes and a lipless grin of razor sharp teeth. Though most appear to be slow moving with frail bodies in a hunched-over posture, they can jump and sprint at terrifying speeds. Ghouls tend to form nests underground due to their extreme light sensitivity, and will eat whatever living creature they get their claws on. Additionally, a single bite or scratch can transform a human.

• • •

Sentinel: Magically animated suits of armor (usually lacking a head, though some possess a helmet) conjured by mages to fight and/or protect them. These beings can summoned in multiple numbers, and do not require food or sleep. If taken apart, they will reassemble themselves and continue fighting in mere moments. The only way to destroy a sentinel is to kill the mage controlling it.

• • •

Skin Thieves (alt. Tratters): Tall, bony, skinless monsters that dwell in The Pit. These creatures wear the skin of their victims until it rots, and though they lack higher intelligence, they’ve been known to keep their victims captive if they survive the process of being skinned and regenerate quickly enough.

• • •

Trolls: An sentient race of monsters which were formerly elves. As legend goes, the Goddess of Light, Udana, forbade her children from leaving Divinity, warning them that a physical existence would only bring suffering. However, some left Divinity anyway, and as such, were forever cursed to wander the world as monsters. Because of this, trolls are sometimes referred to as The First Elves, though most true elves resent this moniker.

Physically, trolls come in all shapes and sizes, with oily, pebbled skin and black sclera instead of white (irises, skin tones, and hair are found in a wide range of colors). Their strength and speed are impressive, and though intelligent, their thirst for violence curbs their craftiness. They are also sensitive to light.

• • •

Will-o-Wisp: These creatures appear as small dots of floating light that tempt travelers into following them. Elves in particular are unable to resist their lure without a great deal of self control. If a Will-o-Wisp is successful at drawing someone in, they can, on the rare occasion, lead to great fortune. But much more commonly, the traveler will inevitably walk off a cliff or drown in a body of water trying to reach the glowing dot of light.

• • •

Wyvern: A member of dragonkind, wyverns grow larger than drakes, and are more temperamental. They also possess wings that double as arms. In Ithelyon, these beasts are endangered as they’re hunted for their scales, which possess protective properties to differing types of magic, with the red being the rarest of all. Like drakes, these animals are found in five colors, each with a different ability (i.e., breathing fire (red), lightning (blue), poisonous acid (green), frost (white), or firing a psionic burst (black)).

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The First Kiss

Heya guys! Hope your Spring is going well and that you’re planning to make some big waves during Summer! Personally, I can’t say Summer’s my favorite time of year (I’m much more of an Autumn/Winter girl), but I’ve got my own stuff laid out! Including this brand new, shiny post wee!

So, as some of you know, I’ve been writing in the romance genre for … actually, I’m not quite sure how long it’s been. I remember coming up with stories in high school, and I refuse to say how long ago that was now (it’ll depress me too much). But let’s just say it’s been “several years”, and in that time, I’ve been met with many successes and failures along the lines of plotting and planning, yet I’ve come to realize there’s one consistency that seems to ring true throughout the genre aside from the HEA.

What might that be, you ask?

It’s the first time your intended couple draws in close for a peck on the lips. The first kiss is a pivotal moment in any romance, and it stands out more than the first look, the first love scene, and even the first confession of love. All of these moments are essential to any romance of course (unless you’re writing a clean romance, but even then, there might be a moment that alludes to the couple getting it on, so … ), but the first kiss outweighs them.

It may be short, it may be aggressive, or it may be intended as a joke with no strings attached. But that moment is the one that opens doorways to an infinite number of possibilities for these characters. It’s a physical expression of love, a discovery, and the spark of a flame all rolled into one, even if the couple doesn’t precisely realize it at the time. The first kiss is a moment that can make your characters think, “What if?”, regardless of how rocky or adversarial their relationship has been up to then.

Perhaps they’ve been enemies all their lives, and some forced proximity accidentally brings them within smooching distance. Regardless of the immediate, outward reaction (she slaps him with a quickly demanded, “How dare you?”, or he informs her that her interpretation of his intentions was sorely mistaken) on the inside, these two are screaming, much like pterodactyls. What have I done? What could this mean? What does s/he think of me now? Why did I enjoy it? Could this go even further?

Outside, they cover it up, laugh it off, pretend it was just a meaningless trick, a method of distraction, or even just a playful attempt at getting attention. But inside?

So the first kiss is extremely important regardless of when it comes and the other activities the couple may have already engaged in. It encompasses pieces of all the other firsts, and gets the ball rolling toward a solid union and the book’s HEA.

What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments! Also, keep your eyes peeled because I have a new reveal incoming pretty soon! Cheers! :)

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The Crucible Series Book 8 Teaser

Fated Fortunes by Angela Colsin (Book Review)

Thanks so much, Kelly! I’m so happy you enjoyed Jada and Dalris’ tale! :) <3

Kelly's Book Blog

FF

4.5 STARS

Paranormal/Fantasy Adult Romance

ARC provided for an honest review.

Goodreads Blurb:

“Dalris Dra’Kai has served as the Terran head of his Draconian House for many long years, assigning jobs, collecting payments, and conducting family affairs. It’s a responsibility he takes seriously, though lately he’s longed for something more fulfilling than organizing business matters—and a good start would be finding his eternal mate.

But eight lonely centuries hasn’t offered much hope, and it isn’t until an unexpected encounter with a mysterious figure from his recent past that Dalris learns his mate isn’t what she seems. Furthermore? She’s on a treasure hunt of her own, but the prize she seeks isn’t riches or esteem … .

Jada Tavar has dedicated her life to finishing her grandfather’s work, and the elven antiquarian wasn’t searching for just any mundane treasure. Instead, he sought the true fate of the lost House of Rinora…

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Fated Fortunes – 5 Star Review

I loved everything about this book. I started reading it last night and didn’t want to put it down to sleep. Then when I started to near the last pages, I found myself trying to prolong it because I didn’t want the story to end. While I love my Isaac and he’s still my most beloved character of this series, I think the storyline in this book might be my favorite.
Dawn, Up’Til Dawn Book Blog ★★★★★ 5/5

Thank you so much for this review, Dawn! (The full review can be read on her blog!) I’m so glad to hear Fated Fortunes has turned out to be enjoyable! Somehow, this got me thinking about a particular file was going to try including in the final ebook, but didn’t get a chance to due to technical jargon I’m sure you’re all better off not hearing. But I decided to share the file here, which is a map of the areas in Ithelyon this book visits. I hope you guys enjoy! :D

Have a great holiday weekend, guys, and happy reading! :D

hm_po
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The Greater Gods of The Pantheon

While waiting for Fated Fortunes to be released, I wanted to post something “extra” for everyone to enjoy if they were so inclined, and in the spirit of that, I finally completed a small project I’d been working on for quite some time now! But the word “completed” might be subjective-there is still a ton of information that needs to be added!

Yet the tidbits I’m providing here are enough to sink your teeth into without feeling as if you’ve been “cheated”, so here it is! Not just a list of the deities in The Crucible Series, but actual information on them!

Sadly, I haven’t added info on all of the Greater Gods yet, but I promise I have my reasons! Those I have added info on are all listed on this page, however, or you can click over to my website here to see it all “in action”.

THE PANTHEON

The collective of Gods and Goddesses is widely known, and in most cultures, one deity is worshiped while others serve only as a mild point of influence. At most, these cultures heed their patron deity’s relationship with the rest of the Pantheon, the best example being the elven kingdom of Onoria, which worships Udana, the Goddess of Light. Her relationship to Peros is perhaps the most well documented, and though elves do not worship Peros, they still recognize him as a sovereign of Divinity. Information on The Pantheon has been obtained from several texts called the Divinity Scrolls. These scrolls were found in the possession of different cultures residing in different worlds. But though no two scrolls are precisely the same with some texts containing more information on a particular deity than another, cross referencing their content has revealed that the information is strangely in accordance, providing evidence of their relation and validity. Because of this, these texts are believed to have been handed down by The Pantheon itself.

The patron deity of mages, Velias is possibly one of the most unusual deities of The Pantheon. The Divinity Scrolls detailing his existence do not date back as far as those of others gods, suggesting he was largely unknown until the city of Mystikkar was established.

Some have even speculated that the reason earlier information on Velias doesn’t seem to exist is that he was once a mortal man chosen to ascend to godhood. Supporting this theory is the Aeonic Well, a divine construct said to have been gifted to Mystikkar by the God of Magic himself. This well is an important cornerstone to mages in conducting their magical studies and affairs, even though the precise way in which it works isn’t fully understood.

Another theory is that the God of Magic travels between the physical and Divinity more frequently than other deities, and may even interact with mages on a personal basis, whether they know it or not. Whatever the truth may be, most mages would say his origins aren’t important. What matters is the guidance he has provided, enabling magic to be utilized with potent results, and his teachings are well documented, connecting him with miracles, faith, and hope, even beyond the borders of Mystikkar.

Due to this, and perhaps because of Velias’ friendship with Peros, there has been a long-standing alliance between Mystikkar and Perosia which was only broken recently after a tyrant took the throne.

Peros is perhaps the most enigmatic deity of The Pantheon. Indeed, deceit and obscurity are his trade, traits which have birthed the misconception that Peros is malevolent in nature. However, it was his efforts that put an end to the Battle for Divinity, and his army that saved The Pantheon itself from potential destruction, to say nothing for the world.

But not all of the gods celebrated this accomplishment. Instead, some questioned Peros’ power, or more specifically, that of his army’s. If they could stop a force that threatened to overthrow The Pantheon, what was stopping them from doing so themselves?

As a result of this uncertainty, Peros was cast out of Divinity with his children, who now make their home in a realm of darkness known as Perosia. Because of this fall from grace, Perosians are collectively referred to as a race of demons, and are one of the few races other immortal beings find truly intimidating.

As for the God of Darkness himself, no one knows his true fate for certain, though the toppled Tower of Peros has long been part of a prophecy concerning his return. Ages ago, the tower, which was said to have been crafted by Peros himself, inexplicably fell. Some believe he destroyed it in anger over being cast out, and that the tower will only rise again if and when the God of Darkness returns to Divinity.

The Elven Mother and keeper of truth. Where Peros is the most enigmatic deity, Udana is direct and suffers no lie. Discipline and revelation are major tenants of her teachings, and in fact, some believe her to be too strict. However, she rewards the faithful, and keeps the devout close.

When the first elves came to the world, it was against their creator’s wishes. Udana had warned her children that existence in the physical would mean suffering and discontent. Yet, and perhaps ironically, their curiosity driving them to know the truth set them on a path from which they could not return-their Goddess forbade any children who departed Divinity from coming home. As a result, these children grew corrupt, malicious, and eventually came to be known as Trolls.

It was this transformation that finally convinced Udana to allow more of her children to enter the physical if only to eliminate the dangers Trolls presented to the world at large. However, she did not endow them with an eternal existence in the physical, and instead, promised a reunion in Divinity through death, and only those seeking family would be allowed to remain and continue their fight.

As a result, the warriors known as Paladins were born. These elves are the protectors of good and servants of justice, their oath to Udana granting them divine abilities no other warrior can claim to possess. Yet, these abilities do not come without cost; Paladins are not allowed to bond with a mate, otherwise forfeit their power.

Though Satora abstained from creating her own divine children, she eventually became the patron goddess of the Dok’aal. Known informally as dark elves, this race was birthed of unions between Elves and Perosians, creating a strange mixture of darkness and light that formed a life of its own. But, while Peros was only mildly intrigued by this new race, Udana believed them to be abominations and cast them into the physical.

As a result, Satora promised to watch over the Dok’aal herself, claiming the attitudes of Udana and Peros were borne of an ignorance that would not be tolerated. Though this reprimand affected both deities in question, only Peros took steps to rectify his indifference by offering the Dok’aal sanctuary in the realm of darkness known as Perosia.

Sadly, sometime following the Battle for Divinity, Satora went silent. No one is certain of the reasons, but some believe the fall of Peros may be the culprit-at least in part. Age old whispers suggested the God of Darkness bore an unrequited love for Satora, prompting him to steal her away from Divinity after his condemnation to the physical. Yet other tales claim his love was returned in secret, and Satora left Divinity to find and restore Peros to his proper place.

Whatever the truth may be, the Dok’aal believe her absence, combined with Peros’ fall from Divinity, is the reason for the loss of their home in Perosia. Driven out by a power-hungry tyrant and scattered across realms, their hardships have shaken their faith, particularly in knowing Satora is now silent with no promise of ever returning.

Most of this information is “back story”, at least, at this point in the series, and whether or not it will ever play a larger role in my books is, of course, “up in the air”. But I can promise that some of this will play a minor part in Fated Fortunes, I’m just not at liberty to say to what extent! :)

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Fated Fortunes is Now Available for PreOrder (Publishing May 27th!)

Fated Fortunes will release on May 27th at the following retailers:

Synopsis: Dalris Dra’Kai has served as the Terran head of his Draconian House for many long years, assigning jobs, collecting payments, and conducting family affairs. It’s a responsibility he takes seriously, though lately he’s longed for something more fulfilling than organizing business matters—and a good start would be finding his eternal mate.

But eight lonely centuries hasn’t offered much hope, and it isn’t until an unexpected encounter with a mysterious figure from his recent past that Dalris learns his mate isn’t what she seems. Furthermore? She’s on a treasure hunt of her own, but the prize she seeks isn’t riches or esteem … .

Jada Tavar has dedicated her life to finishing her grandfather’s work, and the elven antiquarian wasn’t searching for just any mundane treasure. Instead, he sought the true fate of the lost House of Rinora, a dangerous quest that inevitably cost his life. So the last thing Jada needs is a centuries-old draconian recognizing her as his mate, specifically when elves are forbidden from mating with their kind.

But Dalris is seductively persistent, and she finds the draconian more than just a little intriguing. His wicked promises and passionate kisses are impossible to ignore, and the closer they get, the more Jada wants him in her life. Yet the conclusion of her quest may reveal a truth that would condemn their fated connection for all time.

hm_po
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Life is Pain-The Agony of the HEA

I’m not going to waste any time jumping into this topic, and I’ll start by saying I don’t trust anyone who tells me “Life is Pain,” particularly in cases where they’re saying it as if a motto to live by.

I’ve seen a lot of talk recently over the troubles of life and how not everything is rainbows and sunshine and puppies and kittens playing and having fun. Much of this talk has been in regards to the flow and quality of fictional stories and their general mood, but I’m going to take a step back from that and speak in terms of real life before digging into the books.

So, life is pain, huh? You know, there’s no denying that numerous parts of life hurt, and they hurt pretty damned badly. You didn’t get that job you needed and you don’t have the money coming in to pay the bills, so everyday is just a whirlwind of you trying to get by however you possibly can. People around you may be judgemental in some way, but you don’t have the resources necessary to cut them from your life by moving–or just getting a restraining order. It’s extremely difficult to get what you want if you’re not willing to put in the sweat, tears, and perhaps even the blood to acquire it.

Everyone has pain, even when you look at them and think they live such a perfect existence. Their pain may not be something that would hurt you if the shoe was on your foot (for example, someone with a high paying job may be extremely hurt that they didn’t get that promotion they’d been pining for, while you would be happy just to have the high paying job from the start). But it still hurts, and when we say “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence,” this is really just another way of saying, “we want to trade one set of problems for another.”

I mean honestly, problems are everywhere, and if you think you can live without them? Well, here’s a wake up call; that’s just not going to happen. (If it does, please contact me with instructions on how to set up this perfect life!)

In any case, the point is that yes, life can deal out some pain for sure. But to say, “Life is pain”? This is an unrealistic and gross overstatement that really needs to be tempered.

Now, before you assume I’m just some naive lady who’s never experienced the bad, allow me to present some of my general “credentials”. I’ve suffered from OCD since I was seven years old, and was diagnosed with clinical depression at 18 when a nervous breakdown sent me into a horrible state of being for quite a long time afterwards–and I’m not going to go into much detail over it because it’s a period of my life I’d rather not touch on casually. I’ve struggled with weight for most of my life, and in turn, struggled with other people’s attitudes toward me because of it. Poverty? My father filed for bankruptcy in 2005-06, so I’m definitely no stranger to having very little along the lines of money.

Then, in 2013, not a week before I self-published my first book, my father passed away. He never even knew I was working to be a published author.

But despite all of the tragic moments in my life, I still think the phrase “life is pain” is a gross overstatement. Why? Because not all of it is. I’ve had some very wonderful moments in my life as well, and though sure, I sometimes judge things from the perspective of the bad that has happened to me, I also take the time to recall the good.

Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, we had a word for people who always focused on their pain and suffering; emo (and no, I’m not talking about people who are clinically depressed, which puts the focus on the bad all the time whether we want it to be there or not). I’m talking about those who only focus on the pain they suffer because it’s “trendy”, or because they’re honestly just looking for attention and pity. To listen to them speak, nothing good ever happens to anyone ever, and there’s just no reason to go on. Life is pain and anguish and ugh why me?

It’s a cynical view, and I can definitely understand when someone has had so much bad happen to them that it literally drowns out the light. Sometimes, we even block out that light on purpose because we’re so afraid of something else bad happening to us that we don’t want to reach out where more danger could exist. It’s hope versus despair, and how much strength we might possess to push on and improve things, or if we just give up because “problems are everywhere”.

The thing most people don’t realize is that “hope is everywhere”, too. You might scoff and say hope isn’t enough, or that it’ll drive someone insane when what they hope for just never comes to pass–and this does happen, I won’t lie. It’s hard to keep hope when it seems like you never catch a break.

But it’s also possible to hold onto it and keep pushing forward no matter what. The author J.K. Rowling of the Harry Potter Series is probably the best example of this. She went through some very tough times, was on welfare and suffered in an abusive marriage. She did, in fact, hit rock bottom–but she pushed forward, published her stories, and if you want to judge success by wealth, then she became one of the wealthiest authors in the world. There was very likely points where she actually lost hope as well, but she still worked to accomplish her goals.

With that said, we can also set ourselves up for disappointment. By setting the bar too high, we sometimes don’t realize we’re actually succeeding as it’s happening. For example, I’m a self published author who would love to be a best seller, and it would be easy for me to think of myself as nothing but a failure when I hardly see any sales or get many reviews. But that would be the equivalent of jumping from A to Z instead of taking the time out to notice all the letters in between. Before I can become a best seller, I have to get my books noticed, and while I don’t sell books everyday, or get many reviews, I do sell them and receive feedback.

It’s all in the steps to success.

So! That’s a very brief summation of why “Life is Pain” is just … wrong. Now, moving onto the books, as I’d stated, I’ve seen this whole pain-game-thing being commented on in regards to fictional stories a lot recently, and the argument is basically that any story with an HEA or HFN (Happily Ever After or Happy For Now) ending is just unrealistic. Naturally, this argument plays against the Romance Genre pretty often because Romance, at it’s fundamental core, is all about the happy ending. Someone picks up a mystery book expecting to solve a mystery, and people most certainly read romances expecting to see two (or more!) characters fall in love and living their lives together.

But, according to those who’d tell you that life is pain, this is unrealistic, and as such, Romance just isn’t a real genre, and the stories aren’t up to par in comparison to other fictional tales. After all, in order for a story to be good (and realistic), the hero has to die at the end because hey, that’s just the way the monkey swings. Fiction isn’t about fantasy and adventure, after all, it’s all about the real world and how things realistically happen.

I also wonder, if all stories ended with the hero dying regardless of the outcome of their efforts, how quickly we’d get bored with every story and start pining for something different.

So honestly, this whole “life is pain” wagon people are currently riding is taking the element of surprise and intrigue out of fiction altogether. I mean, if all we’re able to write is horribly tragic tales of people suffering and gaining nothing in the end, why should we even write at all? Nothing different ever happens, so we know the ending, making it pointless to pick up the book to begin with.

Additionally, if realism is an argument you’re going to make, then stories vary, just as people’s lives vary. Some people may experience more success than others, and some books have a happier ending than others, and trying to argue that a book is bad, or isn’t even a real story, because it has a happy ending is like saying someone’s dog doesn’t make a good cat because it’s only wearing a costume and refuses to meow.

It’s judging an apple on the basis of being an orange. You can’t accurately assess a romance on the grounds of being a tragedy just as you can’t critique a tragedy on the grounds of being a good self-help book. So if what you’re wanting is sadness and pain, go read Romeo and Juliet, or any number of books out there with a tragic ending, and leave the rest to the people who’d like to enjoy it.

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