Sunday, January 7, 2007

Virgin or Vixen?

“Damnation! You’re a little witch. You know how much I want you, have wanted you since I first saw you at the Chapel Royal all those years ago.”
Eleanor wrinkled her faintly freckled nose. “I’m not sure that’s acceptable. She might have to rethink that. There’s a taint of obsession to it, and it’s not entirely natural. You’re a good twelve years older than I am.”
“So, I was twenty and you were eight. What does it signify? I knew from the first we were fated to be together.” Lionel ran his fingers through his hair in exasperation. If an ordinary man did such a thing, it would stick up every which way, but he only succeeded in making himself look even more handsome, if that were possible.

The above scene is from my WIP, Third-Rate Romance. As you can probably tell, it’s a spoof of some of our favorite romance clichés. The Regency protagonists, Lady Eleanor and Lionel, the Duke of Cleves (who doubles as the spy The Bluejay---and isn’t he beyond irritated that The Hawk and The Falcon are already taken) are conversing as they wait to be written into another ridiculous or anatomically incorrect position.

Their poor aspiring middle-aged author (Huh? What’s that you say about a roman a clef?) is in the middle of three different books. Her characters can’t wait for her to leave her computer so they can behave, or misbehave, as they wish. Just as she has influence over them, they decide to get her out of their hair and get themselves published.

The young virgin-older rake scenario remains ever popular, despite what happened to Diana and Charles. Much was made recently over the age difference between Josie and the Earl of Mayne in Eloisa James’ perfect, pleasure-inducing Pleasure for Pleasure. Ms. James made a convincing case that fresh, tart-tongued Josie cleansed Mayne’s jaded palate. But the innocent heroine-worldly hero trope of historical romance has driven some authors to write contemporaries. The lady can have a “past” and not suffer for it.

Are you tired of that feisty-yet-untouched girl who somehow manages to disarm Satan’s disciple? What’s your favorite pairing? I still love Avon and Leonie in Heyer’s These Old Shades.


Tessa Dare said...

Maggie, that excerpt is hilarious. I want to read *that* book!

But to answer your question, no. I am not tired of the fiesty virgin/older rake pairing. It's yummy. It's pretty much the basis of my own book. Except it's more like the not-so-virtuous virgin urging the already-reformed rake out of retirement. And they've known each other for the longest time and never wanted one another in the least.

Patricia Rice said...

LOL! My very first attempt at romance was a humorous take on the historicals of the 1970s--dark and dangerous man, innocent young virgin, historical setting---I made him a black civil rights worker and set it in the 1960s. "G"

Be very careful what you're getting into, Maggie!

Mary Danielson said...

Oh, I am so with Tessa - I want to read that book, Maggie. Gah! Still laughing over the excerpt...

And, no, I am not sick of the fiesty virgin/older rake pairing at all either. Yes, it has been done - but it is always a classic. Josie & Mayne? Sebastian & Evie from Devil in Winter? My favorite pairings from their respective series...and definite V&R scenarios. Love them.

ps- Hi Maggie! Great blog!

Elyssa Papa said...

Maggie, why isn't this book published yet? It would be a roaring success!

As long as it's not the simpering, TSTL heroine meets the idiotic, TSTL hero, I'm game. Come on there are moments when you're reading Regency books that you know the woman KNOWS what her pleasure zones are and where babies come from. Gah!

Mary Jo Putney said...

Maggie, I think your story has real potential. :)

But I'm not personally that fond of the shy innocent and the cynical rake. Innocence is generally just a lack of experience, and that can be pretty boring. Really good writing and substantive characters can make the set-up work, of course--but I've never considered ignorance a virtue. Rather the contrary!

Kimberly said...

I never tire of the fiesty virgin/older rake pairing. It almost never disappoints. My favorite such pairing is definitely Josie and Mayne from PFP :)

Élodie said...

I can't help it, but I totally love the "Untouched" Virgin and the Rake story. I think that for a lot of readers/writers, fiction is about escaping what we face on a daily basis.

For me, yeah, sex is great, but it often feels (in Chick Lit) like it's become something so trite that a lot of female characters can be taken for granted as being loose--even if an author is trying to depict them as free of social constraints.

When I read romance, I read to escape the crap of life today. And one of those things is the sale of sex in images as being something that's done just for kicks. I think that's why I like the virgin/rake scenario. Often the heroine doesn't just throw it away. Omigosh! That totally sounds like I should be laying on a therapist's sofa...LOL!

Maggie, LOVE the excerpt. It sounds brilliant! Can't wait to read it all the way through!


Hype Harpy said...

Hi, Maggs! Please, please, please develop that WIP! I'm not generally enamoured of May/December alliances, but I DO appreciate the "nothing sacred" turn. Do to the cliches what should be done to the cliches, and that book will be one fun read!

Lindsey said...

Maggie, you've gotta post some of this for critique - not because it needs critiquing, but because I want to read it so badly! ;)

I'll admit to being a sucker for this kind of storyline. Romance is pretty much always about a woman's sexual awakening, and there are few scenarios that work better for this than the virgin/rake.