Monday, October 14, 2013

Romance for a Reason

Hey there, folks! Today we are lucky enough have Lauren Grimley visiting with us again. She's winding her way through her Romance for a Reason tour and today we get to read what she has to say on list item number five. Enjoy!

Top ten things more fictional (and real-life) females ought to do:

5. Embrace their sexuality.
6. Champion their femininity.
7. Appreciate chivalry.
8. Celebrate girl power.
9. Eliminate cattiness.
10. Cry a little & laugh a lot.

I am surrounded by real-life women warriors fighting life’s toughest battles, something that’s become even more evident as I’ve talked with people about my recent project: Romance for a Reason. Yet, as a reader and writer of romance (among other genres), I find few admirable fictional female warriors. So I decided to explore the issue, making a plea to writers and readers to demand more of their fictional heroines and explaining my reasons in posts throughout the month. Today, thanks to Kelly, I’m talking about number five on my top ten list. (See the calendar on the Romance for a Reason page for dates and links to the other posts.)

Where Romance Has it Right

Of all the requirements I came up with for kick-butt heroines, embracing sexuality is one area that most romance writers get right already. So why mention it? Because society still gets it wrong, sometimes infuriatingly wrong! And writers and their readers need a reminder that there are those of us out there who appreciate an honest look at women as lovers.

A little over a year ago, in the height of the Fifty Shades madness, I gave in to the hoopla and read all three books. Even as an amateur author myself, I agreed with the literary critics that they weren’t the most well-written works I’d read recently. I also agreed with the fandom, though, that they were a fun and interesting summer read. Ana fails to meet most of my requirements for strong females, particularly in the first book or so. Since it was a trilogy and based off the same basic plot as the Twilight series, I wasn’t bothered by that, knowing that her sexual awakening was just around the corner and would bring with it a stronger, more self-aware heroine. It did. The trilogy ended with a young woman who wasn’t afraid to admit she liked it a little kinky between the covers and who finally saw herself as an equal to her partner.

Enter Pastor Douglas Wilson, and his blog post “Fifty Shades of Prey,” in which he basically implies that women who willingly engage in certain types of sex are asking to become victims. I won’t repeat my complete irate rebuttal (you can read my reply to the good Pastor here), but let’s just say things got ugly.

Clearly this was an extreme example of someone who can’t accept females embracing their own sexuality, but society is full of less extreme examples. Single men who have healthy love lives, for instance, are studs. Single women with the same are called by another five-letter s-word. It seems only in romantic fiction, which unlike society and the media, tends to be ruled by female writers, readers, and first person narrators, is it okay for a woman to enjoy love making as much as her male counterparts. (Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse with her variety of lovers—not just in number, but also in species—and her honest comments about her sexual appetite is probably my favorite example of this.)

So how do we change society’s double standard? By pointing it out whenever we see it. I’m not sure Miley Cyrus got it right, but I seriously wonder if anyone would have cared if some male artist rubbed himself all over a half-dressed dancer—which, from what I remember of MTV, is pretty much what happens in nearly every rap video ever made. Her twerking, like E.L. James’s writing, got everyone talking. Now we just need to turn the topic of conversation to the real issues: women, like men, have desires. It ought to be perfectly acceptable for females in real-life, like in our fiction, to embrace these desires...Although perhaps we can all agree to keep it off prime time!

unbridled cover.JPGThe Romance:
Unbridled: A collection of short stories from the Alex Crocker series
By Lauren Grimley

“Think Law and Order SUV meets The Breakfast Club” was Ellie’s trite explanation of what Alex had been dragged into. Add a few fangs, Fifty Shades of Oversharing, and a dash of Dr. Phil, and she was in for quite a Thursday night.

Alex couldn’t deny she had become the pint-sized poster child for PTSD lately, but she didn’t exactly expect to find a support group for teachers turned vampire chew toys in Bristol, MA. Listening to the tales of the four other females gathered to help her heal, however, she accepts that perhaps both the worst and the best of life can blossom from the unexpected.

Unbridled is a novella-length collection of four connected stories focusing on the unlikely friendships and less likely lovers of the female characters from the Alex Crocker series.

“Grace and Dignity”
Ireland, 1713
Even a female whose mating has been arranged most of her life still thinks about what she wants in a mate. Not one of the qualities Sarah had hoped for were easily evident in her betrothed, the future Regan of the Rectinatti coven. Perhaps, though, there were more layers to Darian than he liked to reveal, but how does a subject unmask a prince?

“Rules and Recollections”
Bristol, Massachusetts, 1902
You can’t fall in love with someone you barely recall, but that, Vivian supposed, was the point. After a terse meeting with the Knower, a mind reader, memory manipulator, and the coven’s most notorious lecher, Vivian isn’t herself. She can’t shake the feeling that the solution to her mood lurks just below the surface of her consciousness. Only plunging into darkness, though, will bring everything to light.

“Blood and Secrecy”
Bristol, Massachusetts, 2008
The shared need for blood brought them together, but individual desires for secrecy are keeping them apart. Each already left behind a life of privilege for reasons the other likely couldn’t understand. Now both Rocky and Ellie need to decide if they’re willing to open up about their pasts in order to ensure a future.

Series: Alex Crocker series, can definitely be enjoyed without reading the first two books in the series, but is written to fit after the events of book 2, Unveiled.
Genres: paranormal romance, vampire series, urban fantasy, short stories
Release date: October 1, 2013
Available formats: ebook & paperback (178 pages)

Purchase links:


Or for those who want just a bite, three of the individual stories are available as well:
Barnes & Noble 

R4R image.pngThe Reason:
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor and a friend and teacher of too many women who’ve been affected by violence, I chose it to also to be the release date for Unbridled. I may not love wearing pink or purple, the colors of these two issues, but I do love a good fight for great causes. I’ve just chosen to battle this one with my pen. Please consider helping in your own way!

How you can help:

Read some romance. Proceeds from Unbridled will be donated to the two charities listed here.

Donate. Make your own individual donation to these two charities or choose a local charity supporting these and other causes affecting women in your area. To learn more about each charity and my reasons for choosing them, visit the Romance for a Reason page. Or click through to donate directly.

Party hard. Gather the women (and men!) of your book club or just a group of friends for a Romance for Reason party. Party ideas? Check out my blog for ideas on how to plan your gathering. Then download the Romance Reading Questionnaire and/or the Body Lingo Bingo for some fun party activities!

Share. Tweet, status update, review, or just chat with friends about the books, the tour, and the charities (mine or yours)!

Lauren.jpgAbout the author: 
Lauren Grimley lives in central Massachusetts where she grew up, but her heart is on the beaches of Cape Cod where she spends as much of her time as possible. After graduating from Boston University she became a middle school English teacher. She now balances writing, reading, and correcting, all with a cat on her lap and a glass of red wine close by.

Unforeseen, the first novel in the Alex Crocker Seer series, was Lauren’s debut novel. She was thrilled this spring to continue the series with Unveiled and now Unbridled. To learn more about her or her writing or to connect with her online visit her website at

Twitter @legrimley:

Feeling lucky? Enter Lauren's giveaway!

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