Some people call it romance. Some people call it steam.
I call it Mushy Stuff, because sometimes dang it, love is just awkward stuff that makes no sense.
Maybe it’s because I’m one of those people who doesn’t get the normal symptoms of romance in American culture.
Fresh flowers are nice, but I read into things too much. So my first thought is always “great, they’ll die. What is this saying about your feelings?”
Making a joke there, but there’s a reason why my guy only gets me fake flowers (made from silk, leather, wood, etc). Plus, the sentimental side of me gets to look at my wedding bouquet, eight years after the wedding day, and put off dusting it for another month. Thankfully, silk hydrangeas don’t really get that dusty.
I really don’t like dusting. 😉 Or hearts.
I find the actual human heart fascinating, so seeing that little red shape flaunted everywhere kind of confuses me. For our first Valentine’s Day, I told my then-boyfriend that the only way I wanted a heart was if a dragon was on it.
Yup, I was making a not-subtle pun off the movie Dragonheart.
So he painstakingly drew a dragon and attached it to a heart-shaped box. Then filled the box with my favorite chocolate. Well played, good sir. That makes you marriage-material.
At the same time, I really love impossible romances and couples in stories. As long as they come at you from an unexpected angle. And since I’ve been armed with a degree in Cross-Cultural studies and a mind that plays recklessly with romantic matches, my stories get very interesting.
In Lawless: The Ironfire Legacy, dragonshifters have embermates. Their one and only destined spouse. They never have eyes for anyone else.
Naturally, their bonding ritual involves some major open-heart surgery where both dragons have their hearts cut in half and sewn together with their embermates. Because this is the fun you get to have with magic + science.
I’m excited to see what happens with Nula Thredsing, a human who turns out to be the embermate of a dragon. Definitely puts a different spin on the trope!
As for Destroyer, the novella I’m revising, there are unicorns. Death unicorns (the “death” part is a bit more of an adjective–it’s not fully committed to the noun). Naturally, unicorns get to have some quirky courtship traditions too. They take the concept of fated love to a whole new level. Including testing fate to see if it really wants the couple to be together. I may or may not be inspired by the movie Serendipity here.
So now you know–I partly go for romance tropes so that I can send up my favorite and least favorite romantic comedies and tropes.
But in the end, there’s always a happily ever after.
Throw down some of your favorite unconventional romance tropes or romantic pairings (can be television shows, movies, manga, books, etc). Or toss out ideas! You never know what might end up in a story.