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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Romance is Only Respectable this Month?


I'm going to admit that I haven't done many things that are "typical". I didn't pretend not to be smart just to impress a boy. I didn't sneak makeup in my book bag and put it on at school. And I never pilfered romance novels from my mother's nightstand.

The first one no doubt had to do with being a middle child and always trying to prove myself to my older siblings. There was no way I was ever going to look dumb in front of them. And the second two things on the list were definitely influenced by Mom herself. My mom's really pretty and I don't remember her wearing makeup. So the whole thing was a non-issue in my house.There was no one saying I could or I couldn't, so why rebel? The whole makeup thing seemed like a huge hassle in my opinion. And then there are the books. My mom was a reader. She took 4 and 5 books out of our little library every week and carried them home. She was pleased as punch when we picked one up and thumbed through it. I can't say for sure when my love of reading began, but by the time I hit middle school I was reading adult books ... including romances.

Of course I'm old enough to admit they weren't half as hot as they are now. But then again, it was scandalous when I was a teenager watching a movie at the theater and the F-bomb was dropped. Everything's changed, especially acceptable heat levels of our entertainment.

Anyway, reading was reading in our house. I didn't know it was considered taboo to read romance novels. I blissfully carried my Danielle Steel books around high school, happily reading in English class or at recess. (Yes, I was one of those geeks.) But the next week I'd be just as likely to be reading an Isaac Asimov novel during my down time. I wasn't really picky ... I just wanted an engaging story.

Now let's fast forward to middle age. Now I'm writing. And I'm writing romance. *GASP* Oh, the intellectual horror! NOW I find out that romance is looked down upon? NOW I find out that only old maids with no love prospects or a sex life read romance? NOW I discover that my GPA in school is supposed to determine what genre I read? Where the hell have I been?

Well, let me tell you ... in my life time, only one jerky writing professor told me that romance was garbage. (And since I took his class after I'd been teaching for nearly 20 years, I have the right to call this guy an asshat! He wasted our money with that class. Not bothering to teach novel writing fundamentals in a "Fiction Writing" class. So I don't really give him any credibility anyway. Ah, but I digress ...) The point is, I never heard what a bad rep romance had until I started writing it. By then ... I was too old to give two hoots what anyone thought of my genre choice.

And I guess you wonder why I mention this on my February post. Well, the fact is, many of my fellow cohorts have been interviewed or asked to write pieces about love and romance for Valentine's Day. This is the day to celebrate what we write. But I ask ... shouldn't the romance genre be appreciated every day of the year? Shouldn't romance writers, like writers of other genres, be viewed as talented artists and not formulaic cutouts of tired story lines? Shouldn't we be celebrated every day of the year? Well, of course we should. We bleed words on to the page like every horror, mystery, science fiction or young adult author out there. We push through writer's block to make deadlines just like other professional writers.

Please don't just look to our skills and insights on this day because it's meant for lovers. Seek us out in November when you're sick of turkey and need some ways to spice up your cooking (LOTS of romance chapters on that subject.) Call upon us in January when you need a passage or two to warm a cold winter night. Seek us out in July and we'll help you discover the real fireworks.

Trust me when I say romance is a year-round genre. Who doesn't want to be in love 24/7/365?

19 comments:

Amber Skyze said...

I think romance should be celebrated everyday, not just once a year. Whether in a book or in real life.
There's nothing better than love and a HEA. :)

Nina Pierce said...

I agree with you, Amber. I started writing romance because you always know there's going to be a Happy-Ever-After ending.

Katalina Leon said...

Honoring each other and being a loving person should be an everyday routine, but I sure like the red hearts and flowers too!
XXOO Kat

Paris said...

I don't mind having a special day set aside to recognize romance but like you, I celebrate romance each and every day.

And of course I never turn down chocolate on any day:)

Nina Pierce said...

Kat - It is true that a daily dose certainly goes a long way, but you're right, there's nothing like a heartshaped box of candies and some flowers to make me go all weak in the knees.

Nina Pierce said...

Paris - No, chocolate is certainly the cure all for nearly everything.

Liz said...

anyone who claims "romance" is not a "real genre" has no sense of the "real" book market at all. F$#@ 'em I say. But I would.
great post
cheers

Cynthia Arsuaga said...

Nina, you're so right about romance frowned upon. Who started that idea anyway? If you like to read, which I do and have since I could, I love everything from trash to scientific. If has something interesting that piques my brain cells, I'll read it. The naysayers who say we authors of romance are true authors don't know any better and if you add erotic to the mix, OMG! you're a pornographer and really given the evil eye. Stupidity is forever!
I'll keep writing my stories, because if for no other reason they bring romance into my life and my husband's.
Thanks for the post. Good one!

Fran Lee said...

I agree...love should be celebrated on a daily basis. Why wait for February 14th to give someone you love a sweet gift? And the sweet gift need not be flowers or chocolates...it can simply be a gentle caress...a sensual kiss...a hot, sweaty round of play before sleeping...your choice. :)

Fran Lee said...

And as for being looked at askance for writing romance...or even HOT romance? Not a worry here. I carry my business cards with me everywhere I go and I wear my book covers on my T-shirts to the store. I have had cashiers nearly drop the milk because they are staring at the hot dude on my chest. Then, after a moment, they might ask, "Where do they sell that book?" Only once have I been told I was a bad person for writing hot romance. And that was someone who had never read an erotic romance. LOL!

Nina Pierce said...

Liz - Tell me how you really feel! LOL!

Nina Pierce said...

Cynthia - Naysayers don't realize that romance is the second most read genre behind mystery/suspense. And since it comes in all sub-genres, why wouldn't it be fun to read and write?

Nina Pierce said...

Fran - I think the most outspoken people against romance are those that have never read it. And I LOVE that you wear your bookcovers on your T-shirts!!

Cara Marsi said...

Love this post. Yes, romance should be celebrated every day. Like you, I didn't know the snobby backlash against romance until I started writing it. I love to read and write romance and a pox on anyone who trashes it. We all need romance in our life.

Nina Pierce said...

Cara - I'm glad I'm not the only who was blind to how romance was viewed by the literary world!

Adele Dubois said...

Good post, Nina, as always.

The romance genre enjoys a majority share of all fiction sales. That statistic makes my heart beat faster any time of year. ")

Best--Adele

Janice Seagraves said...

Our genre may be looked down upon but romance out sells any other genre.

You got to be proud of that. :)

Janice~

Nina Pierce said...

Adele - that is true which is one of the reasons when I started to write that I leaned to that genre ... besides I just love the whole idea of falling in love over and over again every time I write a book!

Nina Pierce said...

Janice - I also think one of the reasons people look down on romance is because they've never read a romance book. I've heard people mutter that the paranormal book they're looking for is shelved in romance. Yeah, that's because romance comes in all subgenres! Thanks for stopping by.

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