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John T. Cullen in San Diego Harbor late one summer afternoonLaunching a New Fiction Genre. It's time to break through the publishing industry's rigid and limiting categorizations of 'product' to become fresh and inventive once again. Put imagination in place of stagnation. On this website, I will make the case defining this new genre—starting from my personal knowledge and experience. More info soon. This is a new website, heavily in development—thanks for your patience as it unfolds.

What Is It? Quick Look. We'll get deeper into details shortly. For now, think of it this way. According to Romance Writers of America (RWA), which seems to be the law-giver of 'category romance,' a standard 'romance novel' will have the character thread (love story) as its primary story element. quick & easy access to my site on any deviceThe love story comes first (and often only). Fine, I have no argument with that. I find RWA's research quite interesting and informative. I have learned a lot about writing from their view of things (which however is not the only outlook). For reasons I will explain in depth on this site, a vast number of authors (and readers) have long ago traveled various other routes. I'm calling my own route the ROMANTIC NOVEL GENRE. That includes stories found in any of the non-RWA categories in your bookstore, from SFFH to Mystery-Suspense-Thrillers and more.

As I look back on the 40+ novels I have written over many years, I see a consistent and powerful pattern. This is a trend (Romantic Novel) that comes from my heart, my passion, from the very reason why I have been so devoted to writing all of my life. Namely, I have always (with one exception) written (not tended to, but actually written) novels that contain a powerful love story *but not*, as RWA rules dictate, simply the story of two persons finding love and Happy Ever After (HEA). In fact, I always write a powerful love story ending in HEA. The difference is that typically, my novels are science fiction, or fantasy, or horror, or suspense, or thriller or historical…the list goes on. As I will show, very simply and logically that much so-called mainstream fiction fits my definition of the Romantic Novel. That is different than a Romance Novel or Category Romance. My B.A. in English (University of Connecticut) comes in helpful sometimes&133;

Quick Example 1—Romantic Novel. This is the novel that spurred me finally into considering categories (or the desirably absence thereof). Yes, the title is Romantic Novel, and I want it to launch this new genre (or sub-genre, though not of category romance). And actually, I think there are some category romance authors who have been pushing that envelope, tired of being in a corral for commercial publishers to make money without regard to content. I will have a lot more to say about this, so please stay on board as I start posting more opinions and info. I am not in the slightest bit interested in picking any fights. This is *MY* path and you are free to travel it as a writer or reader, or go another way (RWA, SFWA, MWA, HWA, in whatever orchard you may seek to find the fruit of your dreams).

Quick Example 2—CON2: The Generals of October. Lost in the fog of commercial marketing, this political thriller written by me in the early 1990s is, above all, part of the literature of ideas. It's also a strong love story with HEA. Inspired by Seven Days in May among other 20th Century political thriller classics, this novel thinks through the issue of what will happen to the United States if we ever have a Second Constitutional Convention (CON2). Call it a Thought Experiment (Gedankenexperiment), a type of intellectual exercise driven by informed hypothesis. There is a strong (but not dominating) love story between the two vibrant young U.S. Army officers who uncover a plot by the so-called Hotel Generals to seize CON2 and overthrow the U.S. Government, replacing it with a corporate dictatorship slicked down with alleged (false) 'religious notions for that hard sell. When I wrote it, I realized I could have written an nonfictional thesis; but I opted for an entertaining thriller, in which the reader clearly gets the message without preaching or theorizing; in fact, it works more powerfully as a thriller-dramatization, with the political theory as backdrop. More about this novel and others soon.

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