Meljean Brook is a Geek

… or a genius (have you read her books?). You decide. Oh, and if you leave a comment, you may win an ARC of Demon Night. Sure, you won’t get for, like, 2 months or something… but that’s still, like, 3 months before anyone else does. And believe me, you’d want one.

In this post, you’ll notice Meljean talks to herself a lot. A lot. She also likes italics.


Hi, I’m Meljean Brook. I’m not really a romance writer — I just play one in the blogosphere. So when bam asked me to guest blog [ed. note: Let the records show that I’ve been asking for months] , I had a moment of panic. You see, she’s had all of these great guests, with fantastic, funny, and often helpful posts. Authors who give great advice about writing. Authors with fantastic insight into their particular market, or their books, or life in general.

So I thought to myself: Self, you have to be insightful. You have to help people for once, instead of lazing around your own blog, writing posts that pretty much have nothing to do with anything except how dorky you are.

But then I was struck by a debilitating bout of self-doubt. Self, I said to myself, what have you to offer bam’s readers? What can you bring to her blog that is any different than what has come before? Your one accomplishment in life has been reading thousands of romances (and writing about five of them, big whoop.) What have you learned from that?

And so I created a list of everything I knew about romance, with the intention of finally, FINALLY giving back a little of what I have been given. At first, I thought I would be different from her other guests by varying the format, and offering my findings through an interpretive dance routine. The crook of my big toe would be the angst of a thousand tormented heroes — the bend of my elbow a Regency-era cross-dressing heroine’s lament when she finds her daddy has gambled away her virtue to the duke (who is also a spy) — a pirouette the soaring moment of sensual perfection that is attained when worlds crash with the fiery cries of purple prose and shattered bodies and wet, screaming orgasms.

But I got a cramp.

Therefore I have compiled the wisdom of the ages into a video, designed to help those who are attempting to write their first romance novel. For the introductory price of $9.99 (or your soul, whatever you’d like to pay) you have Meljean Brook’s Five Easy Steps To Writing a Romance Novel.

(You will notice that none of the steps includes plot. My dear friends and fellow writers, that is because, before I wrote romance, I wrote fan fiction. Therefore, I say to you: Plot? What Plot?)


Meljean Brook is definitely certifiable… certiably adorable! If you follow her fool-proof plan and manage to land on the New York Times Best-Seller List, don’t forget to thank Meljean. Oh, and me. For putting up this blog post. And I prefer to receive my thanks via Paypal.

P.S. If you enjoyed Meljean’s video, you might also get a kick out of this one. If you didn’t like Meljean’s video, watch this to make yourself feel better.

Last 5 posts by bam


Bam has been reading romance novels since she was 9 years old. She especially enjoyed the Sweet Valley High series, particularly the romance-centric ones. Her first real romance novel was "Perfect Partners" by Jayne Ann Krentz. She's obsessed with old-school Harlequin Romance novels and reads four or five a week.

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76 Responses

  1. catie says:

    That was HILARIOUS! I defy anyone to watch that without laughing so hard, milk spurts out of their (respective) noses. Not that I know from personal experience, or anything… *coughs* Now where’s that damn washcloth?

  2. Rosie says:

    Okay, damn it! This is my third attempt to try and say something witty, but words escape me. Funny video. Extremely entertaining. No milk out my nose, but a hearty laugh and deep appreciation for cleverness nonetheless.

  3. Mardel says:

    The best you tube video I’ve ever seen. My favorite part? the shameless plug. Meljean you are hellafunny!

  4. bam says:

    Meljean you are hellafunny!

    bonus points for using “hella”. Rock on, true?

  5. Meljean says:

    [ed. note: Let the records show that I’ve been asking for months]

    I had to find the right weenie. I was going to use the picture I had as reference for my hero in Demon Night, but it was so big that it kept making Windows Movie Maker explode.

    So it took me a long time to find something that was big enough, yet that the movie editor could still handle.

  6. Meljean says:

    catie — sorry about your nose. The strange thing is, I was just talking to my daughter about squirting milk out of her nose (she was deliberately trying to do it) only two hours before bam posted this. Is it fate? Are the Powers That Be (Whoever They May Be) telling me to get a cookie? I think so.

    Rosie — that’s the story of my life … three times to think of something witty, then I give up (okay, then I grab a comic book and sob into it’s four-color pages, begging Superman and Batman to give me strength, and wisdom, and wit — and if that doesn’t work, at least a Super-Bat-threesome).

    Of course, as soon as I hit submit, I’ll be like, “Oh! That’s what I should have said, dammit!!” Sigh. It’s the wisdom of the staircase at work.

    Mardel — “the shameless plug” should probably be Step Six: Never Miss An Opportunity to Promote Thyself

  7. Tumperkin says:

    Start again.

    I laughed so hard, milk spurted out of my boobs. But then I am lactating. (TMI?)

    Funny, funny, funny Meljean.

  8. Kat says:

    Pachelbel’s Canon is played in the most solemn moments at weddings. And now, every time I hear it, I’ll have to stop myself cracking up at the thought of two tree trunks having sex.

    (I wasn’t going to enter any more comps for a while after I won the Boundless hero one; however, for an arc of Demon Night I would do all sorts of shameful things. And I slipped in that semi-colon just for Meljean.)

  9. Dara says:

    Very hilarious. Ok, I thought I was done having fun until the credits. WHERE’S THE SEQUEL?

  10. Larissa says:

    thanks for making me smile during an otherwise trying day. i have to say that when you showed the picket fence with the house i had to think for a moment if the pointy pink plants meant penis. and i love the princess bride, too.

  11. Jill Myles says:

    Good lord – this was hilariously cute. I cracked up as soon as I saw the bald head. And it’s true about the hot dog, I’m afraid.

    I need to apply Meljean’s wisdom to my current novel.

  12. Jennifer says:

    So funny! Meljean, when are we going to get some more Missy on your blog? I love those posts!

  13. lisabea says:

    Love that Meljean, yes I do. An ARC of Demon Night, you say…. Be still my heart. Thanks for the very informative video. I didn’t realize that trees could take it so rough.

  14. Lorelie says:

    Jeezus, this is nothing but torture! I can’t watch YouTube videos at work, so all I’m seeing is a big blank space while everyone else talks about teh funnay.

    Oh and Meljean? Colin was totally my romance novel crush for the year.

  15. That was freakin hilarious!!! }:)

  16. Jane says:

    I love it! Will you do the edits of my vids?

  17. Stefanie D says:

    Wahahahah, that was hilarious!! You’re so funny, Meljean. 😀
    An ARC of Demon Night… Well, I would sure like that! 😉

  18. Carrie Lofty says:

    How sad am I? When I saw Westley and Buttercup kissing, I actually said “ooh!” out loud. Funny shit.

  19. kardis says:

    That was awesome, Meljean! I started laughing at the bald head and I never stopped! I liked your shameless plug especially. To get my hands on an arc of Demon Night I have no problem being utterly shameless myself!

  20. Kim says:

    hahaha! That video is priceless!! Thanks for the morning laugh.

    Hot cover on Demon Night. That’s one that needs to stand face out on my bookshelf so I can just keep looking at him. lol

  21. Crystal B. says:

    Love the video. It cheered me up. :)

  22. Jackie says:

    Oh my God — that was PRICELESS!!!

  23. Loved the post! The video was hysterical. I had to clamp both hands over my mouth and nose to keep from howling with laughter. As a result, I’ve acquired a lovely blue tint to my face and my side now hurts.

    I love your books and hope to win an ARC :)

  24. katiebabs says:

    LMFAO. The music set the mood perfectly!
    And that was some long weenie!
    Aw Conan and his rippling muscles and the looong sword of his. :)
    Meljean, you are a pip!

  25. katiebabs says:

    PS- I am so scared of trees…. *mommy*

  26. Christine says:

    As soon as I heard Canon in d major I was giggling… by the time I got to Step 4 1/2 I was definitely laughing out loud, especially for the shameless plug! You crack me up! 😉

  27. jennifer says:

    Ok, the glimpse of the dance routine had me breathless. I mourn your cramping.

    Great stuff and thanks.

  28. Jambrea says:

    How funny! I too had to cover my mouth, but I was laughing so hard I’m sure they heard me through out the office!

  29. fiveandfour says:

    Wow, I feel completely capable of writing my own book now – that’s the best writing advice I’ve ever seen. It’s sooo good to know I don’t have to worry about plot since everything I can think of is along the lines of “…and then the monkey snuck onto the space shuttle and funny things happened”.

    My only worry is what that mustard could possibly be a metaphor for on that extra-long weiner. (It’s slightly less worrisome thinking about the ketchup and mustard combo on the regular version, though I can’t explain why.)

  30. Kerry Allen says:


    So that’s what I’m missing… (randomly adds “Unhhhh!” to every sex scene in manuscript) Oh yeah, baby. That’s the ticket for the gravy train!

  31. Ann Aguirre says:

    Fiveandfour, I thought that was cheese on the super-extra-giant weiner. That worries me even more. So I hope you’re right.

    I also enjoyed the look on the man’s face who possessed that super-extra-giant weiner. Talk about proud.

  32. Meljean says:

    Tumperkin — I’ve been there, and squirted the milk. And there’s no such thing as TMI when it comes to boobies, methinks.

    Kat — I just love that it swells right in time for the sex part — that wasn’t planned (I’m not cool, just lucky). And those trees? Wild, I tell you. Wild.

    Dara — Hmm, a sequel … the next five points. There’s promo … I guess plot might finally fit in there … but the real question is: what song would I use?

    Larissa — lol! pointy pink penis! no, I wasn’t thinking that, but if it fits … 😀 Hope you’re having a better day! I’m crossing my fingers that now the edits are done and my proposal is almost conquered, Missy will be talking RtS very, very soon, hee. I’ve got her through chapter one, and her eyes will never be back in her head again.

    Jill — just remember what bam said. If you hit the NYT, I want credit! 😀

    Jennifer — oooo ooooh! see note above to Larissa! I’ve got Missy reading her book … I’ve just been too swamped with stuff to get all the way through the chapters we’re previewing. But, my load has lessened up, so it’ll be soon.

    ….okay, off to get the tot from pre-school, and I’m back later this afternoon! Thanks to everyone for posting so far.

  33. fiveandfour says:

    I thought that was cheese on the super-extra-giant weiner. That worries me even more.

    Yeah, that worries me more, too. Thinking about cheese and mustard on hotdogs..the jokes are now crammed in my brain so tight I might face a metaphor explosion (metaphorical explosion?) soon.

  34. Kimberly says:

    That was absolutely hilarious! I especially enjoyed the credits!

  35. RfP says:

    Meljean Brook: Geeking for the greater good.

    VERY nice!

  36. shuzluva says:

    After a longish absence, that was just the thing I needed today. Thanks Meljean!

  37. Fabulous!! Almost as clever and smart as your books. You rock, babe.

  38. Christy H. says:

    That was sooooo funny! An ARC of Demon Night?!?!? OMG!!! Can I trade my firstborn for one?

  39. Wendy says:

    Argh! I can’t watch the video because I’m on my parent’s desktop and it’s a dial-up connection. Dammit. I’d have to go get my laptop, then turn it on, try to get online..and I’m just too lazy right now, lol.

    Anyhoo! (Er..I don’t know what made me say that) I totally agree, sometimes I think of something witty to say waaaay after I wanted to which is just annoying.

    Hella? Dude, that’s so Cartman from South Park!

  40. Kimberly Anne says:

    Oh, dear lordy. Am I drummed out of the Cool Chicks Read Romance club because I recognized Step by Step long before the credits rolled? I was twelve–it was a sickness. Do not hate me for my youthful indiscretions!

    And did anyone EVER find the Governator hot? Was he someone else’s youthful indiscretion?

  41. Josie says:

    Meljean that was awesome. I must say I’m a little disappointed that there’ll be no interpretive dance however!
    And call me childish, but I just can’t stop giggling at the picture of those trees. Beautiful work.

  42. nath says:

    that was great and hilarious Meljean 😀 LOL, I’m sure this was different and not done before 😀 and how did you find that pic with the trees?

  43. Shiloh says:

    Meljean Brook is definitely certifiable

    Dionne, you got it right on the first one… certifiable. But she is cute.

    Gee, Meljean… if you’re feeling any love and you’d like to send me an E-ARC… 😉 You know my email addy, right?

  44. Cathie says:

    Hi Meljean!!! Great to come by to say a big hello!! One thing I wanted to say about your books, is I love the rich, in depth and absorbing read they are! When I saw book two, I was totally excited knowing I was in for another great read! I love all length, the books tell the story! But I know too alot have up to a certain length, but I was surprised (and thrilled) with yours! Did you have to cut anything with these first three books out? Did you save the scenes? Will you share some day them if so?

    Keep what you’re doing, its great!

  45. Cathie says:

    PS, I can’t get the video to work on my laptop! I’m gonna try hubby’s computer when he gets home! I can’t wait to see it!!

  46. natty says:

    I was having the shittiest day due to my arrogant fat bald and sexist boss as well as not being able to find a good new romance/erotica books at Barnes and Nobles (they just don’t write fast enough for me..booo…) UNTIL I click on this blog through Jaci Burton’s blog. Thank you soooo much for making the end of this shitty day great and full of laugh!

  47. Pamk says:

    I have read one of your stories in an anthology and had to go and purchase the rest. Need to find time to read them now though lol

  48. Cathie says:

    OMGosh, I have the hiccups so bad! (I just got to see the video on hubby’s computer ). Oh foot long hot dogs! And loved ruled number 4 and 1/2 LOL.
    This is priceless!

    Gonna try bread now, water isn’t working to get rid of the hiccups.

  49. Meljean says:

    Finally back! And, woot! so many comments!

    I will go backwards.

    Sherry — I actually have a character in Demon Night who says that. He’s a sidekick, so he can’t swear. It was either that or ‘Great Scott!’

    Pamk — Thank you! I hope you enjoy them … and you will need to free up a LOT of time, lol! Short, they are not.

    natty — I’m glad it livened up your shitty day. I’m sorry to hear about the asshole boss (I’ve had a few of those, but I guess I’m my own asshole boss now). Maybe his hot dog is too little? Or no one wants to eat it. If so, serves him right.

    Cathie — *happy dance*! I’ve been so fortunate that my editor hasn’t forced me to cut out too many scenes (although believe me, we’ve tried! We look for anything to cut down the page count without taking out an essential part of the romance/plot, and there’s just not much). There are, however, a few scenes that I took out of Demon Moon that I’ve been dying to work into a free novella on my site (featuring, primarily, Colin and Savi, but including almost everyone else, too) … but, I have to wait until I get a few free minutes to work it in there. I’m hoping that it’ll fit in right after Demon Night.

    Shiloh — look in your e-mail :-)

    Nath — I actually looked it up for another reason about a month ago; I googled “tree sex” and there it was! I couldn’t NOT re-use it, though … it’s too freaking funny.

  50. Meljean says:

    Cathie — try a spoonful of sugar! It works for me (almost) every time.

    Josie — if you are childish, then I think I must be infantile *grin*. I’m really, really, REALLY easily amused, you can probably tell. And the dance? I should practice my pirouetting without all of the orgasming. That’s probably what caused the cramp, darnit.

    Kimberly Anne — ROFL! If you are drummed out of the cool chicks club for recognizing it, then what does it say that I looked for it and used it? I’m beyond uncool … we’ll have to sit together at the uncool table, and swap NKOTB stories. 😀 As for the Governator — I love his movies, but find him hot? Definitely not.


    I can’t watch the video because I’m on my parent’s desktop and it’s a dial-up connection.

    My parents still have dialup, too! Every time I go to their house, I want to tear my hair out because it’s … so … slow … and … I … tell … them … to … get … broadband … but they never do! Grrr. If they’d listen to me, they’d be much happier — because I would be. *g*

  51. Meljean says:

    Christy H — you might have to ask whoever wins it, because, oh my gosh, I have a firstborn and I can barely handle her! *g*

    …wait, wait! — on the other hand, does your firstborn do dishes?

    HelenKay — you say the sweetest things. *flutters lashes*

    shuzluva — glad I could be of service! 😀 And welcome back!

    RfP — I think in this particular instance, it’s more “dorking” than “geeking” (but I wouldn’t want to hurt bam’s feelings by contradicting her). But it IS for the greater good! The world will be a better place, thanks to these five steps. Hunger and poverty, wiped away beneath the force of the giant weenie!

  52. Meljean says:

    fiveandfour and Ann — what worries me is the tiny container of ketchup he has beneath the giant hot dog. Does he think he’s going to be able to dip it into that tiny little ketchup well? Dude, it WON’T FIT!!

    And I love his expression, too — priceless.

    Kerry — one good “Unnnnnhhhh!” will make any sex scene Rock. So. Freaking. Hard. It’s like the Billy Bob Thornton of sexy dialogue — it doesn’t matter what scene it’s in, you know it’s going to be the Best Scene Evah!

    Jambrea — hee, I hope no one looked over your shoulder at an inopportune moment! The tree pic, you can always be innocent and say, “it’s a tree!” but the doggy is probably a little NSFW. Maybe too late for a disclaimer?

    Jennifer — I mourn the cramp, as well. My contortions were like the songs of angels! I wish all could have seen. *sob*

    Christine — lol, glad I could crack you up! I love Canon in D Major — unfortunately, thanks to this, I’ll probably associate hot dogs with it. The sacrifices I make for art, I tell ya!

  53. Meljean says:

    katiebabs — a pip? A pip? LOL! A gun, a sword … they all pale as phallic symbols next to the giant weenie (and the tree, hee).

    Ilona Andrews loves my books. *dies*

    *gets up, stares at Magic Bites, stroking the cover*

    Jackie — hee hee. It was too fun.

    Crystal — *happy dance* I’m glad it helped!

    Kim — I love that cover, too. I might make a request to my editor to just use that guy for every one, even though the hero changes each book. Because he’s purty. *strokes screen* So, so purty.

    kardis — shameless definitely has no place on bam’s site! 😀

    Carrie Lofty — lol! I do that every time I see any version of P&P, Batman and Wonder Woman, the X-Files, Buffy and Angel, Buffy and Spike (I’m easy), Madmartigan and Sorcha, and Westley and Buttercup. *happy sigh all around*

    Stefanie D — hee hee, I’m glad you liked it! It was a blast to create. Even in the middle of time crunches and deadlines, this job is far too much fun.

    Jane — if I get a sneak peek at the Lego love scene 😀 The truth is, Windows Movie Maker almost made me tear my hair out. It works okay at first, then after a while locks up every couple of minutes. I tried to use the Adobe editor on YouTube, because the interface looks so nice, but I couldn’t figure out how to upload the music/photos. Grr. (Um, not that I was very patient.) Next time, though, I think I’ll take a little more effort to figure it out. The product isn’t all that bad with WMM (and would be better if someone spent more time than I did) but I just get too frustrated to play with it much. I did make a book trailer, once upon a time. I have since deleted it, but it had the same problems — rushing through to finish it to avoid the lockups (okay, and it was also really dumb).

  54. Meljean says:

    Bonnie — *grin* Thank you!

    Lorelie — oh, man … there’s nothing Colin would like hearing more than that (okay, actually me, but because I’ve got an itty-bitty writer’s ego, not his vanity.) He’s such an ass! but so much fun at the same time.

  55. Meljean says:

    Lisabea said:

    Love that Meljean, yes I do. An ARC of Demon Night, you say…. Be still my heart. Thanks for the very informative video. I didn’t realize that trees could take it so rough.

    Trees are dirty, dirty things. I live in Oregon, surrounded by trees, and they’re always moaning and shedding their needles and leaves. They’re shameless!

    …and I really like to go walking through the woods. 😉

  56. Oooooooh! Now I know why my last project didn’t sell! The hero’s hot dog had no mustard! And the heroine had a big ol’ sloppy kitty that answered to Harry.

    Thanks, Meljean, for the pointers! (and the laughs…)

  57. Bettie says:

    Meljean, you’re my new hero. Well, you’re on the list (alpha, by first name). See:

    Bettie’s Heroes…

    45) Marie Curie – lasting contributions to science
    46) Meljean Brook – cracks me the hell up
    47) New York Attorney General’s Office – broke that crooked student loan scam wide open
    48) Oprah…

  58. Shiloh says:

    Oh, wow. I just found something lovely in my email box. Why, thank you, Mel!

  59. SweetNSourGirl says:

    That was friggin’ hilarious Ms. Brook! That summed up pretty much every romance ever. :)

  60. Suzette says:

    Goodness! Thanks for the laugh! Great video! Look forward to reading Demon Night!

  61. katiebabs says:

    Meljean- I didn’t mean “pip” in that way from that novel I read about the opera. Oh my… I guess I should have said you are a star with a great weenie! :)
    Hot dogs and trees and dog humping oh my…
    I really want to post this video on my My Space page. Hee hee…

  62. Lori says:


    I absolutely loved your video!


  63. Not only did I literally laugh out loud—I laughed until tears came.


  64. Billie Jo says:

    OMG Meljean that was absolutely hysterical !!!

    Billie Jo *still laughing*

  65. Darragha says:

    You are a goddess, Meljean. A true, creative goddess.

  66. LOL

    You do realize that if you wanted to count on collecting your $9.99 for that amazing lesson, you shouldn’t have let us watch it without paying *g*

    just saying …

  67. L says:

    My soul is somewhat shriveled and has been bartered many times.

    Is it still viable payment?

  68. Ashley V says:

    I love the cover! I think it’s my fav of the series. I can’t wait to read this book.

  69. Jane says:

    I tried to use the Adobe editor on YouTube, because the interface looks so nice, but I couldn’t figure out how to upload the music/photos.

    You have to upload the videos/photos to YouTube first, I believe. and it doesn’t allow music editing yet. So in sum, Adobe’s editor on Youtube is a nice idea but sucks.

    I use WMM too.

  70. Little Lamb Lost says:

    Oh dear, coffee all over computer screen. This was hysterical and a great way to start off my morning!

  71. Vash says:

    Fantastic video… just what I needed to cap off my evening of procrastination! I especially loved the description of the heroine- very funny. Also liked the description of the paranormal romance- also very funny and very true :)

    Shameless self-promotion is a wonderful thing! It doesn’t hurt anyone and everyone needs it (except maybe La Nora)

  72. Rae says:

    I nearly peed my pants laughing when I watched that video, which was difficult since I was in class.

  73. Erica says:

    Hilarious! Love it!!! =)

  1. September 25, 2007

    […] Head on over to Dionne Galace’s blog on erotica/romance/erotic romance today. Why? Because Meljean Brook has gone and posted a video—yes, a video—containing her advice for writing an erotic romance. The following is not particularly safe for work, or young children. At any rate, I laughed out loud. Then I laughed until the tears came: […]

  2. September 26, 2007

    […] And if you are in dire need of a laugh… go here.  But do NOT read this at work or any other place that could get you in trouble if you break into fits of uncontrollable giggles.   […]