Sunday, July 6, 2014

How romance is trying to make me a better person by Karina Bliss

Boy, I’m steamed, petulant, sulky, mean, unmanageable and jealous.
You know what I should have been doing last week? I should have been in New York dancing at the Harlequin party at the Waldorf Astoria in a gown borrowed from my sister. But, along with two other writing friends, Cinderella didn’t go to the ball.
Because ash from the Chilean volcano blew around the globe to hang over New Zealand and Qantas cancelled all flights on safety grounds. Sounds reasonable except that Air New Zealand and every other international carrier simply spent more money on fuel and flew under the ash cloud.
Qantas reservation staff then added insult to injury by insisting my flight was still scheduled, despite the fact that I had a text from Qantas informing me it had been cancelled. A mistake, they said. As a result I missed out on rebooking a later flight.
A fellow Qantas refugee, Sandra Hyatt, was up for a Rita award (the romance world’s equivalent to an Oscar nomination). She’d had a professional manicure and everything. She showed her nails to the family dog instead. We were so desperate for distraction we even talked about dressing the dog in her party clothes.
I whined to my husband and my son, I whined to everyone who rang. I whined to strangers.
I tried to settle into writing my book but instead obsessively Googled RWA conference pictures and blogs. And a day or two later I thought, ‘Karina, get over it.’
Imagine a heroine spending three chapters whinging about something she couldn’t change. Borrrring. Not to mention unlikeable. She’d be demoted to the best-friend-who-needs-a-salutary-lesson or antagonist.
So what would my heroine do? Being human, she’d whinge for a paragraph maybe, write a pithy complaint letter to Qantas and get on with her life. She’d remember that she was recovering from a stomach virus that was still making her nauseous and be grateful that she didn’t have the opportunity to infect her fellow dancers at the Waldorf Astoria. She’d appreciate that her hero husband was patiently listening to her incessant whinging and give the guy a break. She’d thank the Kiwi who did make conference (Abby Gaines) and was kind enough to send a personal ‘wish you were here’ recorded message from the heroine’s editor. She’d go out to lunch (synchronizing it with the Rita awards ceremony) to drink champagne with Sandra and Rowena and other writing friends.
So I did that and was very grateful that I read romance. Not only does it entertain and transport me to another world, it gives me role models.
Next time someone tells me happy endings are unrealistic I’m going to tell them, ‘It’s all about attitude, baby.’
What has reading romance done for you?

Make a comment and go into the draw for a copy of my latest, very cheerful, August release, Stand-In Wife (as soon as my author copies arrive).

Caption: More cheerful. Qantas refugees (from left): Sandra Hyatt, Karina Bliss and Rowena Sullivan putting on a brave face for photographer, Tessa Radley.


Anonymous said...

Hi Karina,

Sorry to hear about your flight to New York. Looking forward to reading Ross and Viv's story in August. For me reading romance is a great pick me up when I'm feeling down. Definitely cheapter than therapy (grin) Can't wait to read the rest of the series. Thank you, Carol

Karina Bliss said...

Hi Carol, glad you're enjoying my SAS heroes. I have had some good news this month, having sold book 3 and four to finish the series. When I have release dates I'll post them on my website -

Mary Preston said...

You poor thing, but very funny post. Reading Romance makes me believe in a better world. Villains get their comeuppance & heroes shine.

Sandra Hyatt said...

Lunch was lovely. Not New York, but lovely all the same. I too did my best to handle it like a grown up while my inner 3 year old was stamping her feet.

A good romance can help me forget about almost anything. One of yours even helped me forget the kid behind me on a flight to Australia who was incessantly kicking my seat.

Scarlet Wilson said...

Oh Karina, no wonder you were in a bad mood! I would have been too!
Books are always the best thing in the world to give you a bit of escapism and put you in a better place!

Karina Bliss said...

Marybelle, yes, a world where justice prevails. My Virgo nature approves of that.

Sandra, was it a Qantas flight :)

Scarlet, I just reread a Susan Elizabeth Philips for the hundredth time. I always close her books with a satisfied smile.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Bless your heart, Karina (in the good Southern way not the snarky). I have had those disappointments too, like when we had to evacuate, due to a hurricane, out of Picayune, Mississippi before we go see New Orleans. Have never had a chance to get back.

I have ordered Stand In Wife from eharlequin but forgot to put expedited shipping on it so it is taking the slow route to my house. All that is to say, I can't wait to read it and am thrilled you have been contracted for more books. No need to put me in the drawing.

Reading romance is my way of slowing down and relaxing. I have often heard the argument that romance plays with women's minds and makes them long for things that are unrealistic. Never had that happen. I am happy in my marriage and if anything, a good romance reminds me of those heady first days of love or thankful I haven't had the obstacles some of the heroes and heroines have had ;-).

Michele L. said...

Bummer! I would have been a very unhappy camper also, so don't feel bad. Things might not always go they way we want them to go but sometimes it always works out for the best. Especially when we have romance novels by our favorite authors who pick us up when we are down, somehow making everything all right again in the world. I love romance books!

Happy 4th of July Karina! Ooo...cheerful? Stand-in Wife sounds like a fantastic pick-me-up margarita! Congrats on your book Karina!

Ellen Hartman said...

Hi Karina,

We missed you!! I had a talk with Abby about your flight troubles and I know I'd have sulked for far longer than you did. I saw the picture she took for you from the HQ party dance floor. Did she send it?

Congrats on selling the next two books. That's excellent news for me and all your other readers!

Anonymous said...

Oh, what a bummer, Karina! I'm sure I would have sulked for a lot longer.

Romance keeps reminding me that happy endings are possible. It also reminds me we have to earn them, we have to be willing to change, grow, and work for them. But the "happy-ever-after" whatever that means in our particular situation, is real and is there for us.

Marcie said...

How aggravating to miss out something you were looking forward to! I'd have whined a lot too.

So what does romance do for me? Reminds me that a man can be a jerk (and a woman too), but if two people really love each they can find a way to make it work. There's no room for selfishness.

Toni Kenyon said...

Such a bummer for you girls who could not make it to New York. I felt really guilty about being jealous that you were going in the first place! It looks like you had a great lunch.

Romance always renews my faith in the power of love. And it doesn't just have to be love between a man and a woman. Supers show me the many facets of love and that's one of the things that I like about them.

Lets hope you make it to NY next time and congratulations on selling the rest of your series.


Karina Bliss said...

June, can southerners be snarky? I thought that went against their code. :) I agree it's nonsense to think romance gives a woman unrealistic expectations. (Okay, maybe when I was thirteen and thought millionaires grew on trees). I've never had trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality except with the weekly Lotto draw.

Michele,hope your July 4th celebrations were fun. I know Canadians got Friday off for Canada day as well which makes a great holiday.

Ellen, it was your dancing post that set me up for disappointment. Abby did send pics, they were a little blurred but she assures me that was from the movement not alcohol.

Autumn, I think working for your happy ending is what makes romances so much more than 'fluff.' Great point.

jcp said...

It's helped cope with the bad economy and all the horrible tragedies that take place daily, as well as the harsh realies of real life.

linda s said...

How appalling... I'd be bouncing off the walls. I'm glad you had a lunch with your friends to celebrate.
Romance tells me life is good. I need shots of that on a regular basis.
And Helen Brenna won!!!!!!!!!! the RITA for contemporary series romance. (suspense/adventure.) Yay Superromance!

chey said...

Sorry to hear about your cancelled flight. How disappointing! Reading romances reminds me that there are happy endings.

Karina Bliss said...

Marcie, yes I also like that romance allows for the fact that we're all selfish sometimes. Perfect people are no fun to read.

Toni, great seeing you here. I love that Supers have subplots too, plenty of room for secondary romances and family relationships. We don't live in a bubble and neither do Super characters.

Off to the supermarket..will reply when I get back...

Unknown said...

Sorry to here about your flight, sounds like something that would happen to me. I love reading the Super Romances.

Karina Bliss said...

jcp, I often wonder how non readers cope...romance definitely gives me a happy place when bad things happen.

Linda S, yeah, go Helen Brenna...check out the news page on this blog, people, for a pic of the coveted Rita trophy. Hopefully, Helen will blog about the awards night soon.

Chey,thanks for the sympathy. I'm over it now, really. Writing the post helped as did all the kind messages here.

Virginia, have you had an experience like this? Some misfotunes you can laugh about afterwards, in fact they're great grist for the story mill. I do tend to mine my emotions a lot more now I'm writing...I remember Presents author Robyn Donald telling me she had a black eye from a fall and used to stand in front of the mirror every day and write down what color it was turning for future reference in a book.

Joan Kilby said...

Karina, hugs on missing that flight to New York! I'd be whinging, too. The one and only time I missed a flight it took me nearly a week to get over the shock and devastation. And I was only going from Melbourne to Tasmania.

Writing strong, sympathetic characters, and reading about them, in romance novels teach us resilience, to pick ourselves up and carry on when we encounter a setback. You'll use this in a book someday :)

Jeannie Watt said...

Hi Karina,

We missed you! Your heroine is an amazing woman and I think we could all learn something from her--how wise of you to take her lead. By the way, I love the black eye story!


Laney4 said...

My heart goes out to you and your buds. With every glass half empty, it is also half full, so I am glad you had a nice time with fellow writers in the meantime. You know that saying about making lemonade....
Reading romances gives me sweet dreams (although I am always the heroine of the story). I couldn't imagine reading a scary book before going to bed instead!

Jackie S. said...

Sorry for your disappointment....glad you have bounced back! Books are my escape, to read! Your new book sounds great, and I would enjoy reading it.

Jackie S. said...

Karina, just visited your blog and tried to enter for a system would not do it.
Can you enter me for What the Librarian Did??
Thanks....gotta get my grandson to correct the glitch.

Rogenna Brewer said...

Karina, you were missed!

I was really looking forward to meeting you at long last. Abby told us what had happened. I'm sorry it didn't work out. I guess I'd be regulated to best friend because I'd still be whining in chapter 3 :/

Karina Bliss said...

Joan, I'd whinge about not getting to Tasmania too, I've been there, it's lovely. Hope you eventually made Hobart.

Jeannie, isn't the black eye story great! I later put my tooth through my bottom lip in a similar fall and followed her example. Haven't used it yet...the inherent problem with it is the hero couldn't kiss her for weeks!

Laney4, I'm always the heroine too...does that make us egocentric?

Jackie S, I've entered you in my backlist draw. Glad it's your system and not my website...or is it?

Rogenna, I was really looking forward to meeting you in person too. Sounds like you all had a great time, I'll definitely be in NY in 2015.

Unknown said...

Hi Karina
Loved the post and agree most wholeheartedly. So sad to have missed all the fun in NYC. Still we had a great consolation lunch in Auckland on a beautiful sunny day.

JV said...


I'm so sorry your flight issues messed up your trip! For what it's worth, I think you and your equally unfortunate colleagues deserved at least a day of complaining.

Romance has made me a better person because it mellows me out when I'm stressed. After a very stressful several weeks dealing with a family illness, I have had trouble shutting down the brain at bedtime. When that happens, I break out a romance, which takes me to a whole different place, mentally, and, except that I want to stay up to keep reading, it definitely relaxes me and helps me sleep peacefully!

Karina Bliss said...

Rowena, yes we did!

JV, you sum it up perfectly...romance takes you to a whole different place mentally.
Whatever attitude you start with, getting lost in a good book is an emotion-changer.

Kaelee said...

Karina ~ I think I would have complained a lot longer than you did. I love the picture you posted. Lunch with like minded friends is probably the next best thing other than going to the convention itself.

I read romance because I truly enjoy it. I love if an author makes me laugh or cry. I love the fact that I can always count on a happy ending. I think I'm a lot happier person because I do read romance. Feeling blue ~ pick up a romance. Feeling stressed ~ pick up a romance. Feeling bored ~ pick up a romance. Feeling happy ~pick up a romance. There is always a reason to pick up a romance in my world.

Snookie said...

I read romance because I like the guarnteed happy endings! There's enough bad stuff going on in this world, that I like to escape into a good book! I don't bury my head and never acknowledge the real world, but it's nice to escape into a world where there is a lot of positive energy (even if there's horrendous conflict, danger, etc) cause you know it will end happy!

Karina Bliss said...

Kaelee, you're right. We dont need an excuse to read a romance. I can't imagine not having them as part of my weekly diet.

Snookie, I notice my need for a happy ending extends to movies now; can't stand investing in characters if they're going to fail...I'll handle any misfortunes with them through a series, (tv or books) as long as they prevail in the end.

Colleen C. said...

I love romances for the HEAs... the trips to locales I may never see or experience...
Sorry about your trip being messed up.

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