There's going to be a lot packed into this post because a lot has been happening concerning my chapbook Sensuality. but I haven't had the opportunity to write about on it here till now.


The artist Natsuhisui from Fiverr did an amazing job on the cover. I had no idea what I wanted it to look like--just some ideas for colors and images--and she turned it into a better cover that I had ever hoped for. Black, white, and red are my favorite colors, and the images of dancing and blood are prominent in the chapbook.

Sensuality. is going to be released on Amazon SEPTEMBER 28TH. A Kindle Ebook and a PRINT version will be available to buy. Also, for the first THREE DAYS that Sensuality. will be available (Sep 28-30th), the kindle version will be able to be downloaded for FREE.

You can pre-order the ebook version online right now!

I've recorded all fourteen poems and am releasing the recordings of all of them on YouTube as the release date nears. The poems "Shades of Blood", "The Primordial", and "A Ladder of Notes" have already been released! (You can listen to them at the end of this post, also.)

Then, to top it all off, I received the first proof copy in the mail a few days ago--

--and it looks GORGEOUS! It's a glossy cover so the light bounces off of it and it sparkles. It's so incredible to gaze at it and be like "That's my book. That's MY book!" I'm so happy with how it looks (though completely happy because I am changing some of its dimensions and will have to get another proof this week--but other than that, it's PERFECT!)

That's all the announcements for now. I'm currently doing everything I can to make Sensuality.'s release a memorable one. I'll be posting about it mainly on my Facebook page and my YouTube Channel. So if you definitely don't want to miss any upcoming news about Sensuality. and its recordings, like my Facebook page or subscribe to my YouTube Channel. We'll keep in touch.

And for now, you can enjoy these recordings!

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  • Mary K Gowdy

Video Transcript:

Hello, I’m Mary K Gowdy, the poet behind the soon-to-be-published chapbook Sensuality..

There’s a BookTuber I really like called Jordan Harvey. She does in-depth reviews about books, movies, and TV shows where she analyzes what works and what doesn’t. A few weeks ago, she did a video discussing romance in YA fiction. She said she'd love for other YouTubers to respond to it, and I thought “Well, I have a YouTube channel. Why don't I do a video about this?”

I'll be focusing more on romance in general, not necessarily in YA. This video will be divided into three sections: tropes I hate, tropes I love, and tropes I want to see more of.

Let's start with the romantic tropes I hate:

I'm going to first go quickly over some that Jordan mentioned in her video and that have been talked to death everywhere else:


Abusive Relationships

Miscommunication For No Reason

Love Triangles

Inaccurate Marketing

Now that's out of the way, moving on.

The “Will They or Won't They” Lasting Too Long

I'm okay with this trope but as it goes on for too long I lose interest. I think this trope shouldn't be in play any longer than 60% of the running time of the series. And in TV, I prefer it take no longer than one season for the characters to get together. And the couples that are will-they-or-won’t-they the longest often are some of the most dysfunctional characters when they eventually do get together.

Can't kiss our have sex for a magical reason (because someone's gonna die)

For one this gives the characters an excuse to narrate constantly about their sexual angst the whole fucking series (and of course it doesn't get resolved till the very end). Reading this gets really annoying really fast (scratch that—it was never not annoying).

And second, it perpetuates the idea in our culture that something bad is going to happen if you have sex, and I don't think that's a good message to send to teenagers.

The Unwelcomed Sacrifice

This is when a character decides to sacrifice themselves for their loved one when it's obvious the loved one doesn't want them to do that (they may have even explicitly said so).

Often, this trope is a man sacrificing himself for a woman, which is kind of sexist because the man thinks he knows what's best for the woman and is then lauded as a hero for his actions.

And this trope just generates unnecessary drama between the couple.


I think it's fine if the characters are described sexually and if their relationship has a physical aspect. In fact, I like reading about that stuff just like most people.

But I don't like objectification. I would rather no objectification of either sex over equal objectification of both sexes. Objectification of women in media causes so many body image issues. I want to lessen that pressure on women to have the perfect body—not put more of it on men.

If the point of view is from a character who would normally objectify the sex they're attracted to, that's another story. But if your story is told from an omniscient third person narrator (and you’re a man), you got no excuse.

Those are some tropes I hate, so now I want to move the discussion to some I love.

Now, of course healthy relationships are at the top of the list. No explanation needed for that.

Hate to Love

Jordan mentioned this one in her video, and I love it for much of the same reasons. Flirtatious bickering always makes for good comedy, and that just makes you want to see the characters together more.

What's tricky is transitioning the characters to the couple stage without losing that back and forth but also not having them fight all the time. But when it's done well, that's where it's at.

Now or Never

This is when the characters kiss or confess their love for each other when they think they're about to die.

There's already so much intensity at a moment like this, and a declaration of love just amps up the drama. And it gives you something to be happy about right before the tragedy strikes, ripping your heart out.

Characters Acting in Embarrassing Ways Around their Crush

It's a really cute trope and makes for some great comedy. It's very relatable too. People tend to be idiots when it comes to romance and so not smooth.

Having to Choose Between Love and the Greater Good

This is probably my favorite romance trope ever. I love the drama, the twists, the tears, the anguish, the philosophical implications. I eat it all up. It's such a terrible choice, but I love it when characters go through terrible things. I'm cruel that way.

(Bonus points if the love interest has turned evil of their own will or not of their own will, and then the hero has to fight against them—and possibly kill them.)

(And bonus points if they actually do it. I'm so mean.)

Finally I want discussed tropes I’d like to see more of:

Relationships Not Working Out

Statistically, most relationships end, but in books—especially YA—characters will stay together forever (or get married and whatever at the end of the series). And a lot of the times, it's their first relationship. Finding a life partner is not that easy. And not every relationship is meant to last.

By this trope, I don't mean someone dies. I want to see more relationships end because the characters decide it isn't working anymore.

Then, my final point isn't exactly a romantic trope.

More focus given to non-romantic relationships—especially friendships

Too often, romance overshadows all the protagonist’s other relationships.

I think the main reason this bothers me is because I see it somewhat reflected in reality. Our society tends to idolize romantic relationships over friendships. Like, we have a whole genre dedicated to romance. Where's the friendship genre at?

Friendships are important and can be fulfilling too. There's space for both types of relationships in our lives, so I want to see fiction reflect that.

Those are my thoughts on romantic tropes, and I'd love to hear yours in the comments. And thanks to Jordan Harvey for starting this discussion.

Don't forget that my chapbook Sensuality. is going to be released later THIS MONTH. You can find out more about it here. Also, I make videos and blog posts about writing and poetry. So subscribe or sign up for my email list if you don't want to miss any of that.

Thanks for watching.

#booktube #romantictropes

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Hey ya'll. I feel like it's been August for ages. Hmm, I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I've waiting to publish my chapbook Sensuality. in September. And September's finally here! Granted, Sensuality. won't be released for another few weeks. I know I've been reticent about exactly which day in September it will be released, but that information (along with the cover!) is coming soon, I promise.

There's a lot to do when preparing a book for publication, so my August goals were all about Sensuality..

August Goals

1. Format the Interior of Sensuality.

Done except for one or two tweaks. The few things I still have to do I couldn't have done because they relate to the cover, which I'll get to talking about soon. I ended up using Microsoft Word for the formatting, and it wasn't as much of a headache as I feared it would be.

2. Make the Cover for Sensuality.

Almost. I ran into some setbacks. The idea I originally had flopped. I tried to DIY it--do not recommend. Then I reached out to some artists on this site called Fiverr. I found one--named natsuhisui--who could do it for cheap, and I'm very happy with the results. It turned out better than I thought. There's still a few finishing touches to be done before I can officially reveal the cover. Then, that's just the front cover. I still need to design the back myself.

3. Update my Author Photo


I didn't even get to renting a good camera for my DIY cover before I trashed that idea, so I didn't have a good camera for taking my new author photo. I just did it with my phone. It's not the most professional-looking photo, but I think it's an improvement upon my last one and better reflects who I am as an artist.

4. Begin Stage #2 for Poetry Book #1 (PB1)

Accomplished! PB1 is my new poetry project and will be my first full-length poetic work. In July, I focused on writing several poems for it (Stage #1), but for August, I slowed down to figure out the book's structure. I brainstormed all the ideas I wanted to explore in the book and then created a note-card for every idea for an individual poem I had. I divided the note-cards by theme and then ordered them the way I want them to be in the book (for now). I discovered two things:

  1. I've grouped the book into 5 parts based on similar ideas and having to do with a particular period of my life.

  2. I have at least 100 ideas for poems. And I might develop more as I write. Considering a lot of my poems tend to be over one book-size page long, that could mean the final book will be around 150 (or more) pages. This is going to be a looooong work.

It's an ambitious concept too, but I've become more confident that I'll be able to do it justice.

I'm calling all the brainstorming and organization I did Stage #2, and now I've progressed to Stage #3, which is writing the rest of the poems. So far, I've written 32. I'm between a third and a fourth done. Wow, this book is crazy.

5. Write 10 Poems

Failed. I only wrote 6. This goal was my lowest priority, so I'm not too bothered by not reaching it.

6. Gain More YouTube Subscribers

I gained one. I know the goals says subscribers, but every subscriber counts and should be considered an accomplishment. In that case, I'm counting this as accomplished. I haven't been as consistent at posting videos as I had planned, so I consider that to be a failure.

There were a lot of goals that were somewhat accomplished this month. There were some setbacks along the way, and moving back into my dorm at school took up time. I still consider this month to be mostly a success; it just wasn't as successful as some previous months.

Onto my goals for September!

1. Publish Sensuality.

It's coming out THIS MONTH! I can't believe it. I'm so excited! Randomly throughout my day, I'll smile and say I can't believe I'm publishing my first book soon.

Most of the big work is done, but there's still several small things I have to do:

  • Finish interior formatting

  • Format the back cover

  • Release the cover and announce the release date

  • Print a proof copy to make sure everything's formatted correctly

  • Finalize and release the recordings of the poems

  • Finish uploading it to Createspace and Amazon KDP

2. Read from Sensuality. at an Open Mic Night

Last semester, I started performing at open mic nights. It still terrifies me, but I want to promote Sensuality. by reading a poem or two from it. Maybe I can even sell some copies!

3. Write 15 poems

I'm upping the goal from last month because hopefully I'll have some more time to write. I'm also only 4 away from reaching my year goal of 35 poems.

Only 3 goals this month, but there's a lot that goes into publishing anything. This all feels so crazy! I'm so excited to finally share Sensuality. and see it become a book. If you don't want to miss its release, you can sign up for my newsletter below, follow me on Facebook, or subscribe to my YouTube channel. We'll keep in touch!

#writing #poetry #selfpublishing

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