by Angie Raney
February is the season of two things: love and Pub Crawl. As your resident romance-novel fanatic (I prefer love expert, but who’s to say), I’ve compiled a list of tropes I think fit a few of this year’s Pub Crawl sessions, classes, and panels. Here are my top 9!
1. Rejections: How to Handle No’s and How to Secure Yes’s with Tara Stringfellow
ROMANCE TROPE: Destiny/Soulmates
Do you believe in fate? In soulmates even? Sometimes we just have to kiss a whole lot of frogs until we find the one.
Angie’s recommendation: Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
2. Free Friday Panel: The Role of the Writer in the Age of Book Bans
ROMANCE TROPE: Forbidden Love
People are going to try and tell you what the “right” things to do and believe are, but you know what you really want to say. Fight for what you love and speak your truth even if others don’t like it.
Angie’s recommendation: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
3. From Idea to Book: Everything You Need to Know About the Publishing Process with Jon Michael Darga
ROMANCE TROPE: Friends to Lovers
You’ve been through a lot with your piece. You’ve seen each other through the good and the bad, through hardships and difficulties. Yet, that love has only grown. What began as an idea, has blossomed into something beautiful.
Angie’s recommendation: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
4. Revision for Publication with Mike Zapata
ROMANCE TROPE: Second Chance Lovers
It doesn’t always work out the first time and that’s okay! You might just find that with time and growth, you could fall in love with your novel all over again.
Angie’s recommendation: I’m sorry, I have to choose Ms. Henry again… Happy Place by Emily Henry
5. How To Be Your Own DIY Valentine with Steve Almond
ROMANCE TROPE: Arranged Marriage
In Steve’s own words, “a publishing deal, once you peel away the romance, is an arranged marriage between an artist and a corporation.” Sure, you might not always see eye to eye, but you have to learn to appreciate the process and be honest with yourself about what you want. Who knows– maybe what you want is right in front of you…
Angie’s recommendation: Can’t say this is a trope I read a lot, so I’ll suggest the K-drama, Because This is My First Life
6. Author Conversation/Book Talks
ROMANCE TROPE: Different Worlds or Experiences
We all have unique experiences, expectations, and stories to tell, so it can often be difficult to collaborate. Though differences can cause conflict, the strongest relationships – both professional and personal – can overcome anything.
Angie’s recommendation: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
7. Let Others Carry It: Publishing as Practice with Megan Stielstra
ROMANCE TROPE: Slow Burn
Establishing yourself in the literary community can be a lengthy process. Stick with it and don’t let great opportunities pass you by–dedication is vital in the journey to becoming the writer you’ve always dreamed of being.
Angie’s recommendation: Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman.
8. Navigating the Artist Statement with Ines Bellina
ROMANCE TROPE: Enemies to Lovers
Sometimes, it seems impossible to love your own work. Only when you sit down, look inward, and examine what you really want to say, will you see your work in another light.
Angie’s recommendation: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
9. Final Panel: StoryStudio Chicago Alumni
ROMANCE TROPE: Happy Ending
Come on, you knew I was going to go this route. Partnerships like these– ones built on hard work, collaboration, and genuine love and support– are bound for success!
Angie’s recommendation: Honestly, what romance book doesn’t have a happy ending? But also please read Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun