Friday, January 29, 2016

Dear Romance Blogger: Maybe You're Reading the Wrong Books

Recently, I read a blog post from a romance blogger/reviewer complaining that she was "done" with contemporaries because they were all full of the following (this is not the complete list, just what I remember off the top of my head):

Step-brother romance
Women who can only find self-esteem thru sex with a man
Poorly written sex scenes
No emotional connection between the characters
Bare-chested men on the cover

Might I suggest...?

You're reading the wrong books. I have none of the above in any of my contemporary romances, and I'm not alone. In fact, I could give you a good, solid list of writers like me who think the emotional connection drives a satisfying happy ending. 

My heroes are construction workers, auto body shop owners, radio deejays, a small town police chief, and even a hospital janitor. Not a billionaire or sheikh in the bunch. Even my "wealthy" investment banker is homeless when he meets the heroine! 

The sex stays off the page so it doesn't get in the way of the emotional relationship between my characters, and there are no poorly written scenes struggling to come off as erotic. Double bonus: all my covers contain fully clothed individuals, if there are individuals at all.

So, why are bloggers and readers griping about this? You have to *look* for my books. Try typing "sweet romance" into your Amazon search engine and see what comes up. You'll find small town heroes, emotional arcs instead of pages of poorly written sex scenes, and no bare-chested men. The problem is, you haven't been looking for what I write. Not until you glutted yourself on stepbrothers and hot sex and billionaires. And the publishers noticed. So they kept feeding you the same pablum.

In my household, we call this "the Vanilla Swiss Almond effect." When my husband and I first married, a few decades ago, I made the mistake of introducing him to Haagen Dazs's Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream (at the time, my favorite.) After that, it was all my husband ever bought--until I reached the point where I couldn't look at it anymore. It's been thirty years, and maybe...I might be ready to try a spoonful again in another year or two.

The lesson here is this. If you want books that are "different," try expanding your horizons. Come to the sweet side. We have cookies. And lemonade.  

Find me on Amazon!