Why Do Girls Go for ‘Bad Boys’?

In comments the other day, Bill Q. brought up a topic that tends to slide its way into my family’s dinner conversation from time to time:

Unfortunately, what I recall in my high-school days is that many of the girls seemed to go for the good-looking guys who treated them like dirt.

Hmmm … yes, unfortunately, I remember that, too, Bill. And my 15-year-old son brings it up a lot.

My son considers himself one of the “nice guys.” He bemoans this sad truth and simply shakes his head at the fact that many of the girls he likes tend to gravitate, instead, toward the boys who are the troublemakers, the attention-getters. The boys who shrug off authority and any kind of … well … learning.

I told him that this won’t go on forever. I passed the salt and pepper shakers and said eventually girls will see “his type” as the more desirable. (I believe he gave me that “yeah, sure, Mom” look.)

But in the meantime I was faced with the question he posed to me and my tween daughter: Why do girls go for the “bad boys”? And why has that been true for generations?

At the time neither of us had an answer. (In fact, I think we both denied it.) But later, I thought about it again and remembered some discussions I’ve participated in on romance-writing blogs, where the “bad boy” is still alive and well in many a fiction setting (usually with boxing gloves, tatoos, a motorcycle and a mysterious past).  Continue reading

Twilight: Impossible Standard for Romance?

So I guess the Twilight DVD comes out tomorrow. I have one teen in my house, at least, who’s dreading it.


Well, because he’s a boy. And if Twilight has done nothing else, it’s ruined life for boys. At least according to my son.


Now if you ask your daughters, they will say that Twilight is the greatest thing since Cover Girl Lash Blast. Every girl I know under the age of 15 has read the book at least four times, and most have read the entire series at least twice. They pine for Edward; they sigh over Jacob; they psychoanalyze the “sparkly” scene and bend their heads to deconstruct the conversation in the biology lab. They have pens, calendars, posters, folders, purses, buttons and necklaces. They proclaim their allegiance to “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob” with rhinestone-studded T-shirts.


But where does this leave the boys? Continue reading

Writing Weekend

We’ve had a nice, long President’s Day weekend, and I’ve spent most of it writing. It’s been nice. (It helps that it’s pouring rain here in So. Cal and no one wants to go out.)

I’m trying to catch up on some edits I needed to do for the second of my three books I’m working on. I sent the manuscript out to Harlequin for critique, and they sent back a really nice writeup with tons of encouragement and very specific recommendations. All very doable. So now I just need to … do.

I’ve been an editor my entire adult life, but I’m used to editing small chunks of material at a time. But editing your own novel — which is a full 100,000+ words (!) — is really daunting. (It takes me a whole weekend to skim 100,000 words, let alone ponder and edit each sentence!) I keep having to start over, tackling small sections. I’m not sure I’m doing this in the most efficient way, but I’m doing it in the only way I know how.

Anyway, I wrote a permanent page here on the blog called “Currently Writing” about where each book is in the writing and editing process. My very favorite stage is the “Fast First Draft,” and I have one book there that I love working on. But I have two at the last stage, awaiting their revisions, and I need to dedicate some time to them so I can finish. (That’s what I worked on this weekend!)

Drop me a line if you have any questions, any encouragement, or — absolutely — any recommendations for how to edit 100,000 words smoothly! I’d love to hear from you readers and writers!

The Man of My Dreams

heartSo here’s a weird thing. When I was a kid, I wrote this little journal entry describing the “man of dreams.” (Well, actually, I wrote the “boy of my dreams” because I was only 13.) Here were my basic requirements: I wanted him to have black hair. (I specified “curly.”) I wanted him to drive a jeep. (I was sort of into the “outdoorsy” types.) I wanted him to have a dog. And I wanted him to play the guitar. Those were my big requirements. (I know, I know – where’s honesty? where’s intelligence? where’s sense of humor? blah, blah, blah. I know. I was only 13. …)


So anyway, I met Chris (my now husband) in high school, about three boyfriends in. The first three boyfriends didn’t fit these requirements at all. But, actually, neither did Chris. He did have black hair, but it was straight as wheat. He didn’t play guitar. And he wasn’t old enough to own his own dog, let alone buy his own jeep. But I liked him anyway. And gradually, eventually, we fell in love. …


But here’s the weird thing: Chris’ hair GOT curly. It started right after our senior year, and, by the time we were in our early 20s, he had a mass of black curls on his head. Continue reading

Life-Altering Questions

A few years ago, when I was a stay-home-mom-who-freelanced (I was never sure which of the jobs was more demanding, so I packaged them as one descriptive job), I was standing in the kitchen, drying glasses, watching Oprah. There was a motivational guest on (I can’t remember who specifically) who told everyone to imagine, for a second, what they would be if they could be anything.

My dishtowel hardly missed a swipe. “I’d be a novelist,” I said, in the general direction of the TV set, putting the glass away into the cupboard.

I grabbed the next dish as Oprah left a dramatic pause. And then she said, “So why aren’t you?”

My dishtowel halted. My hands went to my side. I turned toward the TV and stared. I stared at Oprah. I stared at the audience members. The camera panned and caught similarly stunned expressions from everyone.

So why aren’t you?

It sounds sort of silly that a television show – and only one line out of it, at that – could change your life, but that show did. Continue reading

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