Hitting the Genre Right

Writing books isn’t the only thing a writer has to keep track of, especially not when she’s indie. I am pretty stoked to share that I have updated, or my cover artist Candice Gilmer has updated, the look and feel of the covers for my science fiction “during apocalypse” romance trilogy, the Maelstrom Trilogy. These covers should be hitting the genre right, not a swing and a whiff! I also renamed the first book from Angeli to DEFENDER because, well, there are no actual angels in that book (only fake ones) and it wouldn’t be fair to fans of actual angel romances to drag them into the scifi nonsense, would it?

Without further ado…

Three book covers of manchesty man for Traitor, Defender, and Prodigal. These are new science fiction romance covers

Hopefully these new covers that look more like SF and less than PNR will help readers find the delicious during apocalypse hijinks with fake angels, emo warriors, angry refugee women, resourceful computers, and lots of settings across the American West. Oh, and a brief appearance of a cat in #3 to appease Meankitty!

The cover for blue guard by jody wallace on a fancy blended blue background

Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com

Tropey Romance Novel Tropes!

Been a lot of criticism lately of the way genre novels (and others) often employ “tropes” – what MW online calls “a common or overused theme or device.” Are romance novel tropes bad?

The assumption, of course, is that the occurrence of a trope in a book means the author is full of cliches, has no imagination, and cannot write their way out of a soggy paper bag. I mean, if you were a REAL writer, you’d come up with stuff that was so unexpected and meaningful that nobody has ever thought of it before!


We’re humans, and we think up shit constantly. No matter what it is, somebody already thought of that. Tropes are actually, for writers, more of a shorthand way of identifying or including elements in a story that readers are known to seek. Tropes are akin to genre fiction itself, except in more detail — they’re like going to a restaurant that has things on the menu that you recognize. You order spaghetti (or romance books) because you want some damn spaghetti. And you order meatballs on your spaghetti (or a best friends to lovers trope) because you like you some damn meatballs.

Spaghetti and meatballs in a heart shape to represent romance novel tropesThe meatballs and spaghetti at this restaurant, and the best friends to lovers story by this author, taste different from other restaurants. And you love them more or less. You might even recommend them to friends. And you love spaghetti and meatballs regardless, even if you just had a plateful last week.

Because spaghetti. And best friends to lovers romances.

Am I right?

Hint: yes, I am right about romance novel tropes.

ANYWAY, this is all just because I found this list of tropes on author Mindy Klasky’s website and I wanted to share it!


I’m also going to start including the tropes I sprinkle into my books at the bottom of the blurb, for those of you looking for spaghetti WITH meatballs.

Jody W.

PS — Best friends to lovers is one of my favorites. My stories that employ this trope are: Kiss the Bride, Liam’s Gold, Holiday on Ice, and Pack and Coven. Check out my books at the Books Page!