Continuing a Catholic Romance Novel

I had a great many reactions to my novel Honor At Stake. If you read the original Lori review on this site, you may have noticed in is that it’s a romance. It’s also one that doesn’t follow the standard formula.

And by “may have noticed,” I mean “I’ve gotten several angry emails telling me to put out the next book this very minute, or else.”

Most romances I’ve seen take place over the course of, at most, a month, and conclude with “him and her” having hooked up at least several times during the novel, and decide that they’re going to wander off into the sunset. Which, at best, is unrealistic. At worst, from our point of view, here at the Catholic Geeks, immoral as all heck. One could make the barest excuse that such actions are “preceremonial sex,” since they’re due to be committed and / or wed by the end of the novel.

I call BS. Which is why, while I’ll occasionally read a romance novel if it has a strong enough plot, I don’t even bother. The tropes are too strong usually.

Honor at Stake … “tropes? Where we’re going, we don’t need tropes.”

Which is a gross exaggeration, but I’m hoping to get points with the Back to the Future fans.

First, Honor at Stake takes pace over the course of two college semesters. Because I’m really sorry, I don’t care it the classical idea of a perfect drama takes place over the course of a long weekend, that is not enough time for “boy meets girl and they fall in love,” not even counting the usual parts of the formula.

What’s that you say? “Love at first sight?” Here, let me refer you to my blog post about how I’m a cynical bugger. Once you read that, go right ahead, ask me if I believe in love at first sight.

Anyway, after I took my heroes, beat them, battered them, broke ribs, arms and legs, I had them come to some serious revelations about their feelings, their relationship … and why it’s nothing but a really bad idea, and wouldn’t it be a really good idea to split them up?

Because I can’t make anything easy on my characters. Because where’s the fun in that? Jim Butcher does it all the time, and it works great for him….

That scream you hear consist of my readers howling for my blood.

How exactly can I move the story forward from there?

Welcome to Murphy’s Law of Vampires. And it takes place at the end of Honor at Stake. I don’t mean the next minute, the next page, I mean the prologue is part of the end of book 1.

And the next minute? Consequences.

For those who have not read Honor at Stake, my heroes go through waging war on vampires, blew up several vampire bars, and generally wreaked havoc everywhere they went.

So now, time for some consequences. Because not only does Amanda have to justify her actions before the NYC Vampire Association, she has to justify the actions of her friend Marco, because, to other vampires, Marco looks like her minion, and therefore, he’s her responsibility.

For those of you who have read Honor at Stake, you know that could get complicated.

With Murphy’s, the actions of Honor at Stake impact the plot all over the place. The primary adversary comes after our heroes because of their role in book 1. Merle Kraft’s offer is answered because of book 1 fallout.

At the end of the day, one could make the argument that the entire quartet is just one long novel, broken up by boss battles.

Funny enough, the quartet started out as one large novel. It started with a different character, Merle Kraft, and it was a way to run into Marco and Amanda along the way, with them having a chemistry that was obvious to everybody. When I decided to break up the novels, I decided to start with “how does their relationship really develop?”

In Murphy’s Law of Vampires, as I expanded it into a full novel from my original 100 pages, I addressed a probably noted in the original book. There was only one problem mentioned in the entire book, in reviews and even a friend of mine made the argument.

The bad guy was too easy.


Heh heh heh.



Ahem … yeah. I can fix that.

Enter “Mister Day.”

As the flap copy explains.

After saving Brooklyn from a nest of vampires, Amanda Colt and Marco Catalano are a little banged up. He’s been given a job offer to deal with vampires in San Francisco, and it’s a tempting offer – it would get him away from Amanda, his feelings for her, and get her away from the darkness inside him. When a death in the family compels Marco  to move to the West Coast, they’re both left to fend for themselves.

But when a creature known only as “Mister Day” leaves their world in tatters, they must once more join forces against the darkness. Only “Day” is no vampire, but a creature beyond their experience. It will take the combined might of Marco, Amanda, and all of their allies just to slow it down. They have no weapons that can kill him. They have no ways to imprison him. To even fight him is death.

But they have to try, or face the end of everything they love.

Before anyone starts thinking “oh, good, a novel released in time for the Dragon Awards,” I’m going to suggest … maybe not. I’m not saying this book is bad, or of low quality. I am, however, saying that book three, Live and Let Bite, will be even better. Murphy’s Law of Vampires follows through on several elements in Honor at Stake, and it is perfectly necessary for the continuation of the overall storyline, as well as personal relationships, and … sigh. You’ll see what I mean. Honest.

But Live and Let Bite … well, let’s say that all of the people who are pissed off at me now will be really happy when that comes out.

However, if people want to nominate this for a Hugo, I won’t argue….but, really, I want a Dragon Award. Thank you.

So, you can order Murphy’s Law of Vampires here.

And if you like it, you might even want to try a comedy … Set to Kill.



About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, nominated for Best Horror in the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, an attempt to take Dan Brown to the woodshed in his own medium -- soon to be republished by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and it's follow-up, "Codename: Winterborn." And "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set To Kill" are murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
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2 Responses to Continuing a Catholic Romance Novel

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard says:

    It’s funny.

    I read one Urban Fantasy novel where it was obvious to me that the two main characters would “get together” at some point.

    Mind you, the story wasn’t a romance but some people screamed that the two characters Should Have Gotten Together by the end of the book.

    Of course, several books later they were committed lovers and got married.

    The “funny” part to me was after they had sex.

    Too many “Romance” writers think “Good Sex” solved all problems but these characters continued their “fights” after the “Good Sex”. [Very Big Grin]

    While I share your belief concerning premarital sex, I thought the authors (husband – wife team using one author name) did a good job with the relationship between two very strong individuals.


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