Thursday, August 7, 2014

What is a romance novel?

Ever since I first got published, I keep hitting this brick wall. What wall is that? The wall people throw up when they hear that I write romance. This coming Monday, August 11th, is my publishing anniversary. It has been 7 years since my first book came out. :) While that's awesome, I can't believe I'm still talking about the same misconceptions.

Here's the thing, "romance" does not mean fluff and sex. That is what almost everyone assumes when they hear the word. So, let me break it down for those who are confused about the subject. Romance, just like any other genre, can be nothing but crap. That isn't an isolated type of thing. There are bad books everywhere, regardless of the subject matter.

Romance is also not an all encompassing category like it used to be. It doesn't necessarily mean women with their bodices torn open, wearing ridiculous dresses while being man-handled by pirates. (Although, it could.)

Most romance novels are NOT all about the sex. Books that revolve around sex are called erotica NOT romance. And no, that is not the same thing as porn. If someone is going to judge a genre, they should at least get their categories and terminology straight. Oh, and while we're on the subject, I am very offended when my work is called smut. Smut is like a filthy magazine full of nothing but pornographic images with no story ... maybe not any words at all. I do NOT write smut.

There are many sub-genres within romance. Here are just a few that are on Amazon.

Werewolves & Shifters
Demons & Devils
Witches & Wizards
Science Fiction

You get the point, the list goes on. What does this mean? It means that these are all stories that just happen to also contain a romance within the plot. If John Conner's father had lived, Terminator could have technically been sold as a Science Fiction Romance novel. See what I mean?

I don't think that people who turn up their noses at romance really understand what is out there. Don't judge the whole genre by one or two books that made headlines. That's as ignorant as judging an entire race of people by one stupid person. LOL

Most of what is out there is well-written, and researched material. We're talking good, solid writing, not just a bunch of fluff. Romance novels have something that other genres often lack, genuine emotion. I love horror, but I've read horror novels before and not given a damn when main characters died. Why? Because they were not portrayed with any emotion. I didn't know anything about him/her. All I had was a handful of facts. Facts are cold and hard. They do not "tell" you who the person is. Their actions and reactions paint that picture, and that is what most romance novels provide.

So, what is a romance novel? It is an adventure in any established genre where a romantic relationship between at least two of the characters is involved in the plot or subplot.

While I'm on my soapbox, one more thing: I write about vampires and werewolves because I LIKE IT. I have never written about the paranormal because it is popular. Anyone who actually knows me understands what I'm talking about. I've always been into anything macabre, mythology, horror movies, you name it. That's my thing, and that is why I write about it. I am sick of people insulting me because I write about vampires. I'm tired of comments like, "Oh, how original." Really? How was that called for?

It all comes down to this, I'm doing what I love, and making a living at it. If you don't like that, please feel free to keep your snark to yourself.

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