Weird Relationships

You know what’s weird? That in some ways, we’ve kind of gone backwards. In terms of movies, at least. Because I’ve spent the last few months reveling in a bunch of eighties films – from comedies to thrillers – and though many of them are far sillier than anything that would be allowed now…there’s something glaringly missing from modern film.

Where are all the wonky romances?

There are plenty now in books. Or at least, the landscape is definitely shifting. But in movies? Where are all the Children of a Lesser Gods and Sleeping With the Enemies and White Palaces? Really strong, unusual romances, often paired with certain thriller elements – or even some eroticism?

I sat down and tried to think, and couldn’t come up with anything modern that rivalled these sorts of very adult, intense sort of films. So few films now seem to be about real, mature relationships. We either get daft comedies about older people (It’s Complicated, Hope Springs, Exotic Marigold Hotel) or angsty stuff about young adults (Nick and Nora, 50 Days of Summer).

Even Secretary was about a young girl, rather than two adults. And so few films are about internal pain causing rifts in burgeoning relationships. There’s The Town – which I really enjoyed. And certainly the central relationship in that is wonky. But really the movie is all about external factors. He’s a thief, she’s the woman he kidnapped.

Where are the movies about internal factors? About fooked up people trying to find happiness? Has Hollywood abandoned those kinds of films? It’s almost as though they’ve been ghettoised to the indie scene, where people can talk about their feelings. Mainstream drama has kind of stopped existing – it’s been polarised into romantic comedies or romantic films OR drama about big ISSUES.

Which is a shame, because I really miss the White Palaces and the Lesser Gods. I miss wonky relationships in movies. I wonder what it would take, to make them come back?

Say what you want about 50 Shades…but I think it might just do the trick.


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Certified Wonk: LOLCat Edition

Here are 10 things I loved about the latest Certified Wonkomance…

10. Much of the book is narrated by the heroine’s CAT. Her cat, who used to belong to her husband who is now deceased, and is currently her best friend. He also screens her dates, which brings me to number 9….

9. The heroine manages to bring home lame-ass dates for one-night stands without seeming at all sleazy herself. The utter lack of slut shaming was as startling as it was refreshing. Win, win, win!

8. The cat pees on said lame-ass dates clothes. It seemed like the thing to do.

7. The cat then decides to help the heroine by playing matchmaker.

6. The hero the cat finds is a …. okay, I can’t give it away, but suffice it to say that he is in a profession that is HEROIC and I love that.

5. The heroine dresses up like Alice in Wonderland.

4. Ellen DeGeneres makes an appearance.

3. The heroine really does get a cat tattoo. And the cat really does look like the cat tattoo on the cover. I know, it sounds weird. You had to be there.

2. There is gratuitous catnip.

1. It’s just enough heart-wrenching. Very sweet, emotional, with no melodrama. Okay, there were some intentionally melodramatic parts. But the silly parts were silly and the sweet parts were sweet.

The Girl with the Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir

For cat lovers everywhere, this sweet, quirky, and delightful romance is about a young woman and her matchmaking cat.

A little bit of mystery, a whole lot of whimsy.

About the book:

When a matchmaking cat takes it upon himself to find his young mistress a new mate, he accidentally stirs up memories better left forgotten.

Melody’s husband was murdered by what seemed a random act of violence. Two years later, the killer hasn’t been caught, and Melody is coping in unhealthy ways. During the day she’s a mild-mannered children’s librarian, but at night she’s a party girl, hanging out in bars, drinking with new friends, and often bringing home strange men. Although acquaintances have tried to keep in touch, Melody has cut herself off from most of the people in her old life. Max, her eccentric cat, doesn’t approve of her new friends, he’s tired of the parade of losers, and he finally takes it upon himself to find Melody a new man.

This book is 30,000 words, which equates to about 150 print pages.

Get The Girl with the Cat Tattoo on Amazon now!

Posted in Certified Wonktastical | 8 Comments


Charlotte Stein (charlotte_stein) and I had this Twitter conversation one night…

It is harder than you might think to find a photo of Armie Hammer’s butt.

Me: Last night I told the other charlottestein I’d bought DOUBLED, and couldn’t wait to read! I bet she was excited, too …

Charlotte: LOL LOL just seen this. I’m guessing she gets a lot of weird tweets meant for me!

Me: Yeah, and poor plain serenabell gets some crazy-ass tweets intended for me. serenabell and charlottestein shld hang out.

Charlotte: They probably do. And they write books about how evol sex is, together. #oppositeland

Me: Or they’re not partners. They both write about evolsex and then they tweet each other “Your book SUX!” #oppositeland

Charlotte: HOMG are doppelgangers are evol!

Me: They also have a group blog in which they celebrate the most pedestrian, garden-variety romances they can find. Bland-o-mance.

Charlotte: And they never talk about Armie Hammer’s butt. They talk about…Michael York…and his new…blazer.

Me: In Bland-o-mance, there is no mention of body parts, definitely. And they refer to fooking as “doing it.”

Me: With about as much enthusiasm as they discuss what extermination method they’re using for termites.

Charlotte: No, no! They don’t even call it doing it. They call it “having relations.”

…and Bland-o-mance was born.


In the Land of Romance, the men are all tall and tanned, the women are thin and plucky, and the sex is always mind-boggling. It’s a fine land, indeed. But we prefer the land of Bland-o-Mance.

We are the mythical readers, the undermarketed writers, who like our protagonists more conventional, our conflicts more tidy, our endings wrapped up and tied with a bow, preferably one of those manufactured sticky bows that doesn’t require you to get out the scissors to do the whole curling ribbon thang. We want escapism, and we want it sticky sweet. Give us Scarlett and Rhett, yes, yes, but can we also have my mom and dad, who’ve been married for, like, fifty years and have only fought once? Atticus Finch, mmm-hmm, but also my friends Mike and Mindy, who are SERIOUSLY perfect for each other? Nick and Nora, absolutely, but also really cute couple up the street, the ones who always take their evening walk hand-in-hand? We want that dream you had when you were in seventh grade that the boy in your gym class sat with you at lunch, packaged up for consumption in romance novel form.

Here at Bland-o-Mance, we’re lovers, not fighters! We are sooooooooo not anti-convention. Sometimes the market says, “Ooh, too much. This hero you’ve written, Aspiring Romance Writer– Whoa. He’s really . . . strange. You’re going to lose readers.” And we at Bland-o-Mance say, “Oh, gosh darnit! You’re right! I don’t know what the heck I was thinking.”

Because we believe there’s a place in romance fiction for weird-ass heroes and heroines, and it’s called the cutting-room floor. We want characters who are pretty, who are sweet, and who have never had a lonely Valentine’s Day. We want girl next door, only girlier, the hot guy on the plane next to you, only more polite, alpha males like Christian Grey, only without the kink (oh, wait—that is Christian Grey). In fact, have I mentioned my mom and dad yet? I can give you their phone number if you want to interview them about how they never fight. And as far as I know, they’ve only had sex twice.

Here at Bland-o-Mance, we want to read stories about how perfect people are. Because they are. Ohhh, they are. There’s no where to go from there, but that’s okay with us, because we’re perfect too.

People are nice. Life is nice. Love is nice. And fooked-up people should read literary novels.





Posted in Writing Wonkomance | 3 Comments