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Dystopia is not a disease

Is it just me or has there been an increase in the number of books set “in a dystopian world”? I've been browsing the YA offerings for my older son, and the dystopian setting seems ubiquitous.

To be honest, I wasn't 100% sure I knew what dystopian meant, so I looked it up. It was pretty much what I imagined based on the prefix dys/dis and Utopia, but in case you're curious, according to the Mac Dictionary:

dystopia |disˈtōpēə| noun an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. The opposite of Utopia.

Movies like Mad Max, Total Recall, Minority Report, and Terminator (the future depicted in it) are examples of dystopian settings. I think the new genre called Steampunk (think Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) is feeding the trend, so we'll probably be seeing more dystopian books as the genre grows in popularity.

I've enjoyed some of the aforementioned movies, and my son is reading Leviathan right now, but the bleak, hopeless world really isn't my thing. It's just not the type of setting I want to write about. The required world-building would be similar to that of a sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal, I think. Again, not really my thing, but I do find the trends interesting.

What about you? Is a dystopian future (or past) in your future?

Virginia dreaming

Usually, I'm California dreaming. I love the rocky coastline of central California (see this page's header), and the perfect weather. But, since we're not moving back there anytime soon, and Europe is off the table, my next choice is to go back to northern Virginia.

Inspired by Lee Lofland's Weekend Roadtrip posts, I decided to show in pictures some of the things I miss about Virginia/D.C.

The History (Monticello–Thomas Jefferson's House)
Monticello


The Beauty (Great Falls National Park, Md side)
Great Falls


Great Falls 2


Fall Colors (Gainesville, VA)
Gainesville


The memorials, the National Mall, the shopping, the restaurants, the proximity to so many other big cities and places to go…and so much more! Okay, I don't miss the traffic or the cost of living, but seriously, it's been our favorite assignment so far and we're really hoping to go back.

What are some of your favorite places to live?

BTW, stop by the Romance Magicians blog to celebrate our 4th anniversary. Comment for a chance to win prizes!

I’m a little teapot

One of the things that fuels my writing, especially during cooler weather, is copious amounts of tea. My favorite is Stash Moroccan Mint Green Tea, but it's difficult to find locally. (Hint, hint…) 😉




For my birthday, I received one of the best gifts ever. An Oster 360° Cordless Kettle with “keep warm” feature. It boils the water quickly and will keep it warm all day so I'm never out of hot water, and I don't have to microwave my tea water anymore.



It's amazing how the little things in life can make us happy.

What are the little things that make your day?

Dear John

*SPOILER ALERT* If you haven't read Dear John, or seen the movie, and you don't want to know the ending, stop now and go enjoy a few Cake Wrecks instead (scroll down for the Valentine's Day posts).

I've already mentioned that one of the reasons I write romance is because I love a happy ending. After becoming emotionally invested in the characters of a novel, I want things to work out for them. In real life, things go awry daily. Lovers split, people get hurt, bad stuff happens to good people.

I like my books to be an escape from the harshness of daily life.

In romance novels, we suffer through the conflict with the characters, we wonder how they're ever going to overcome the obstacles and be together. But, we know that in the end, the big payoff is there. We count on it.

Okay, enough about HEAs. Here's the thing about Dear John by Nicholas Sparks. I enjoyed the book. I really did. But I hated the ending. Yes, it was the right ending for the story. It was the right thing for the characters to do, but it wasn't necessarily a happy ending.

After all the build up, the hero and heroine don't get to be together, and it really, really, really ticked me off!

In mystery novels, we expect the sleuth to solve the mystery/catch the villain. In spy thrillers, we expect the secret agent to catch the terrorists and thwart the major attack. In romances, the hero and heroine get their happy ending.

Like peanut butter and jelly. Romance and happy ending.

Yes, I know. Nicholas Sparks doesn't write romances. He writes novels with romantic elements that haunt you for days or weeks and require a trip to the grocery store for more tissues.

And that's why I usually don't read books like that. So, lesson learned.

Until next time. *Sigh*