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Writing Alternative Romance: An Anti-Valentine

Yes, it’s after Valentine’s Day so I’m late with this post. But I’m in the passionate throes of unpacking in a new house, and falling in love with quieter, gentler surroundings as I move from room to room and become easily distracted. Can I just say that leaving a box of breakables half-unpacked is not a stellar idea when you live with a cat? And I mustn’t neglect to walk the dog each morning, not that the pesky pooch would ever let me do so.

Fact is, my cat and dog are currently the “men” in my life, so I’m living an alternative romance even as I write my Other Worldly series featuring Rowan Layne, a post-menopausal female who isn’t at all enamored of the happily-ever-after, one-true-love pablum served up to the masses, especially on Valentine’s Day.

To begin with, Rowan is initially dealing with a very difficult toxic relationship in Alienable Rights, first novel of the series. So much so it would make any woman question whether she should delve willy-nilly into meeting new people in its debilitating aftermath—alien or otherwise.

And as her friend Oapule Wimpole says of Rowan’s new extraterrestrial pals who dash about in red orb flying crafts, “I’ll just bet Red Orbiters aren’t doing a stunt for Valentine’s Day because they despise it as much as I do for the crass commercialism it is.”

By book two, Feeling Alienated, Rowan is definitely feeling angst and confusion over the mysterious disappearance of her Red Orbiter lover, not to mention fielding attentions of other suitors, both human-hybrid and alien.

This is why my Other Worldly novels fall into the realm of alternative romance. Not necessarily because Rowan Layne falls for various alien beings, but because she’s into so many of them. And some are decidedly younger than her, by decades.

Rowan used to confide to the moon shining outside her bedroom window when she was a child, and in Aliens Abound, she will visit that distant place that knows all her secret hopes and desires.

In this third novel, Rowan’s love interests—a possible euphemism because is intense sexual desire really love? —are increasing rapidly to now include a Labyrinthian (as in Martian) she thought was exclusively gay, and that Scottish dude is coming on silky suave yet holding back in a most intriguing manner befitting of his former spy status.

By the end of Aliens Abound, Rowan finally has a romantic interlude with one of her alien paramours on Valentine’s Day, complete with a fancy otherworldly meal and red-heart diamond jewelry. But at least no one is mentioning marriage, until…

Being Alien, set in England and Scotland, finds Rowan loving the landscape and engaging in several sizzling trysts. Because she’s now amassed six suitors, including four aliens, one human-hybrid, and one gent of another fascinating species she’s discovering in the mystical Highlands.

It can be a cautionary tale, thinking one might want the fairy tale, the whole shebang complete with proposal-on-bended-knee. Primarily because what a woman might dream of in her twenties, thirties, or even forties can take on an altogether alien concept once she’s become seasoned by life’s peccadillos.

At what point do societal dictates clamoring about how we must choose only one become a distant fantasy that no longer fits like Cinderella’s glass slipper, but instead takes on a different image as mercurial as a pumpkin carriage at midnight?

Is it possible Rowan Layne might finally be romantically nudged to settle down while cavorting in foreign lands? Or perhaps her heart will take her in another direction entirely once she embarks on a space tour in Alien Sensation, fifth book of the series coming this year.

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