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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

But where is the romance?

Okay, I’m on my soapbox. Call me  crazy but where ahs the romance gone in television? The good feeling? The “Oh, I love this show” feeling? I don’t know about everyone else but when I watch a television series and a couple has really great chemistry I want them together and I want them happy. I want to feel the love!!!  In an ensemble series with a large cast and the story line basically about the lives of the people involved, I want one couple that’s the anchor. One couple that is sold despite everything. That you can always depend on no matter what.
I’m a romance writer right? So I want the romance! However small it might be.
Yet television seems to have this wild notion that if you don’t constantly break people up you’re not creating “conflict.” Maybe that’s because they don’t know how to write “conflict.” Or maybe it’s because they think the only way to keep the viewers coming back is to give them a weekly dose of angst.
Now I’m not saying every show ahs to have a romance. Some, like the police procedurals, aren’t even built around romance. But if they introduce couples and their private lives are only peripheral to the show, then why can’t they be happy? In love?
Oh, yeah, I know, I know,  couples fight in real life and they deal with problems. That’s okay if it’s not too intrusive. But if you want to watch “real life” then tune into lone of he gazillion reality shows. Or take a look at life around you. Lord knows there’s enough angst and “conflict” to go around.
When I watch television I wan t escapist entertainment. I want to feel good. I want a break from the trash I deal with every day.
And what’s the argument when shows get complaints about splitting up key couples or not putting them together when the chemistry between them is son strong is about ignites the screen? The Moonlighting Curse. When David and Maddie got together the show tanked. Jumped the shark. Well, hell. Moonlighting was a long, long time ago and I’d like to think writers have learned a lot since then about how to do it right. How to make it work.
I must have every book written by the Dell Shannon, the queen of police procedurals. The story of the crime and the police department was primary but she skillfully wove in the personal stories of the detectives. And guess what? They didn’t break up, or if they did it was instantly resolved. They didn’t do things to hurt each other. Although I’m sure she didn’t think of it this way, her books had “strong romantic elements”.
Just like many of today’s shows, like Grey’s Anatomy. I watch shows like  Flashpoint, where poor Ed has to decide between his job and his family. Why? It’s not even close to being primary to the show. Or Hawaii 5-0, where Danny and Rachel are finally getting back together and she’s pregnant with his child and he ditches her at the airport. Why? It’s not germane to the story line.
So if this bothers you like it bothers me, let me know. Let the producers know. Maybe they’ll take pity on me.

And speaking of happy couples, here’s an introduction to Faith Wilding and Mark Halloran, the heroine and hero of Jungle Inferno, Book 1: The Phoenix Agency, now available at all online bookstore. He’s a prisoner of terrorists. She’s a romance writer with a strong determination to save her man, once she knows he’s in trouble.

Excerpt: Warning: ADULT
The sun was a globe of fire creeping up in the sky, turning everything below it into an oven. It was barely nine o’clock in the morning yet Mark Halloran was sure the temperature was already close to triple digits. The humidity was as thick as a rainfall. The roar and grunt of the howler monkeys was already splitting the air as they leaped from tree to tree feasting on the canopy leaves.
How the hell did people live in places like this?
Or work in them.
And this appeared to be a permanent camp, with tents, lean-tos and crude buildings. It also boasted a campfire pit and other amenities they wouldn’t have taken the time for in a transitory situation, unlike the temporary setup where the meeting had taken place. Where they’d been told the Wolf was going to meet with Escobedo’s group. A friend of a former Special Ops soldier Rick Latrobe’s, deep undercover with Escobedo’s group, had risked his life to get the message out that the Wolf was going to make a personal appearance. Unusual for him but this shipment was so large and involved so much money, Escobedo insisted.
Not at his camp, however. Not even the Wolf would be privy to its location. A meeting place not far away was set up. For the Wolf it would be in and out. Just like that. He would arrive with the shipment, Escobedo would bring the money. As soon as both parties were satisfied with the goods, the transaction would take place and that would be that.
Mark had gone to his commanding office, Major John Gregorio, with the information. The major had passed it up the chain and the word had come down to act. The United States government had waited a very long time for a chance at the Wolf. To make it a two-fer upped the ante.
A simple mission. Get in. Take out the bad guys. Get out. One less group of Al Qaeda plotters to worry about. And the arms dealer meeting with them. That was the key. That’s what he and his men had been told. It was a chance to clean out a viper’s nest and take out a key arms player at the same time.
With the weakening of the Tupac Amaru terrorist group and the decline of Shining Path, Al Qaeda had been recruiting heavily and spending big money to rebuild Peru’s terrorist structure. Another foothold in South America for the promised Islamic world.
But someone had leaked the mission, Escobedo’s group was waiting for them and now most of his men were dead. After burning the bodies of Mark’s men they’d cleaned up every trace of what had taken place and moved, all of them including the Wolf, what Mark reckoned was about ten miles away.
He grunted, trying to shift to a more comfortable position. The tent gave him little protection him from the ruthless sun and having his ankle chained to a stake barely two feet away severely restricted his movements. For maybe the thousandth time he wondered what had gone wrong and landed him in this abominable mess.
God, what a mess it had been. One minute they were finding their positions to take their shots, carefully hidden, the target painted. The next they were the targets instead. The noise of the AK47s still echoed in his ears, along with the stench of the blood of his dying men. They’d even gotten the comm guy they’d left at the insertion and extraction point with their gear.
He’d forced himself to look when they dragged the bodies into the center of the camp, piled them together and set them on fire. They stood watching with arrogant, evil grins on their faces, then opened bottles of whiskey to celebrate. Mark was sure it was a sight he’d never forget.
He knew what they wanted—the name of the man who had betrayed them. They could kill him and very well might but the source had to be protected at all costs.
Yet as much as they tortured him, for sport and pleasure as well as information, there were things he hung onto that kept his sanity intact. For one thing, despite his wounds he kept himself alert and counted the bodies. One was missing, Joey Latrobe. The kid. The sniper. Rick’s brother, who’d brought them the information. Mark was convinced he wasn’t dead or they’d have found him. No, badly wounded or not, he’d found a way to hide from them. Now if Mark could only be sure he got away.
Of course he had no idea what shape Joey was in, or even if he could give his rescuers, if there were any, information about the camp.
But what gave him real strength was his connection to Faith. God. Beautiful Faith. The woman of his dreams. How stupid was he to walk away from what they could have to play soldier? No, not that. To defend his country. His sense of honor and patriotism was stronger than almost anything. But now, if he died here in this godforsaken hellhole, the only memory he’d have would be that long weekend they’d shared before he was deployed the first time.
And the erotic dreams that came to wipe away the pain.
When he closed his eyes she was in his arms again, her lush body naked against his, her breasts pressing against his chest. His hands coasted over her satiny skin, fingertips exploring every dip and hollow.
“It’s a good thing you aren’t around when I’m planning a mission,” he murmured, his lips against her throat. “I just look at you and my cock gets so big I’m afraid my pants won’t contain it.”
Her laugh was throaty and musical, and her fingers drifted down to close around his thick erection. “Good. That’s the way I like it.”
She moved her hand in a slow pumping motion and he groaned at the heat that rushed through him. Lowering his head he closed his lips over one taut nipple, pulling it into his mouth. It hardened even more at his touch and when he dragged his teeth over it lightly her grip on his cock tightened.
“Easy.” He released the nipple and lapped around the edge of it. “We don’t want the dance to end when the music has just begun.”
“Ah, but we can always dance again,” she reminded him.
He tasted the skin in the valley between her breasts, doing his best to take control of the situation even as her fingers continued to stroke the hard, thick length of his cock. Light movements that teased him and heated his blood.
But then just being near her did that.




5 comments:

Amber Skyze said...

I agree...I want some romance in the series I watch. I was so mad when they let Rachel think Dan-o left her at the airport. I couldn't wait for them to get back together!

I'm sure this new book will be yet another home run. Congrats.

Tina Donahue said...

For me, one of the best romances on TV recently has been the one between Pam and Jim on The Office. If it hadn't been for their romance, I probably wouldn't have continued to watch the show. The night he told her he loved her and they kissed for the first time - wow. It was great.

Sandy said...

I don't agree with you on all the shows, but I feel that way about Covert Affairs. The heroine keeps getting thrown together with some supposedly rogue CIA operative she met before she became an operative. They had great chemistry, then the next season they had a totally different take his place, and we weren't even supposed to notice. Grrr. No chemistry with this one.

The one she really has chemistry with is the blind operative. Hot! Hot!

Liz said...

I am addicted to premium cable series where romance runs rampant, be it between a sex addict and his ex wife (Californication), Henry VIII and his many wives (The Tudors), Spartacus and his wife (Spartacus Blood and Sand), any number of folks on Game of Thrones, or Don Draper and his libido (Mad Men).
Liz

Katalina Leon said...

I gave up on mainstream TV, its not a romance friendly place anymore.
Wonderful excerpt Desiree.
XXOO Kat

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