Coming Out of The Romance Writing Closet

This week has been seriously weird, out of sync, and just an overall disappointment. I have had a certain adjustment period where I was going through some changes and during that time I went temporarily insane in the membrane. I blame it on Politics and Religion. They made me do it. :b Anyway, I am finally back from the dead and living is great. This week was a tough one, though, and let me tell you one of the reasons why. But first, please enjoy this pic of a sexy NY firefighter posing for a 2013 Calendar to raise charity for a medical burn unit:

Firefighter at fountian

Photo Credit: Alan Battman for huffingtonpost.com

 

See slide show of firefighters and read more about this cause

In the past I have avoided being around people unless I absolutely had to. Now, I enjoy interacting with people because I find it amusing, interesting, and fun. After meeting with my daughter’s school director I was reminded of why I avoided people and find them amusing at the same time.

Names and conversation was tweaked not to protect the identities, but because I really cannot remember most of their damn names and some details. Nevertheless, the conversation went sort of like this:

The school director takes my husband, daughter, and I for a tour through the school. We stop in the hallway and she points to each door (open door) giving us the teacher’s name and a brief description of them. Kind of like an introduction…….from a distance.

Director: “This is Lucy, and she is married to Ricardo with a lovely family.”

We all nod letting her know we were listening. She continues.

“This is Candy, she is such a sweetheart and very diligent in her job.”

“And this is Betty…….uh, she’s single.”

I peek in the doorway, curious what activities were going on. A woman was in the middle of the room sweeping. Loneliest sight I’ve ever seen. But, being me I just had to wonder. Why do I care if this woman is single? Why is her boss telling me this? Maybe the director is trying to hook the teacher up with my husband, I mused. Hot for teacher. I couldn’t help but chuckle.

Before we left we discussed schedules and if we would need to sign her up for after school care.

Director: “So, what type of work do you do?”

Me: “I am going back to school soon and am writing romance on the side.”

It just came out. I didn’t mean to announce to my daughter’s school director that I was writing romance, it just happened. So, I waited for the earth to crack and swallow me whole, or a firing squad to appear, or Death to show up with a guillotine…….erm, you get the picture. Anyway, nothing Earth shattering happened and I was still alive.

Director: Smiles politely “How……..interesting.”

Yeah, so writing romance and outing myself as a romance writer to people I know is one thing. Most people I know and am acquainted with know I love romance. But, this was a big deal to me, to admit to a stranger in person that I am indeed a romance writer. She was polite, so I guess it could have been worse. It always is worse in my mind. But, if someone was paying me a hunk of cash each week to care for their child and I wanted their business I guess I would be polite too.

Adele Quote

 Because I like to play devil’s advocate, I Googled “Stigma of romance writers.”

The first link that appeared was an article by Duke University. The article referenced the setting as Durham, NC. It was written in July, 2012. Here are just a few quotes to give you a feel for the article:

Romance fiction gets a bad name. Even though it’s a billion-dollar industry and outsells science fiction, mysteries and historical fiction, it’s rare for The New York Times Book Review to review a romance fiction novel.

The success of current bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey” notwithstanding, romance fiction is generally viewed with contempt as lowbrow, poorly written, cheap, tawdry, worthy of mockery — especially among academic literary types.

Oh, great. A high brow academic source has a low opinion what I write, imagine that! So, I read on….

“There is really great writing out there. It may not suit everybody, but they shouldn’t dismiss it because of memories of their mother’s Harlequins,” says Dubois, who has published six books under her pen name.

It mentions later on that she openly uses both of her writing identities to separate her romance and academia identities. I agree with the quote above, I’m liking what this lady has to say.

“We describe these scenes as sensual, graphic, but not dirty,” Dubois says. “I think the problem is that we Americans are so eager to conflate romance and sex when, in fact, romance is a love relationship between lovers, sometimes between friends.”

I sort of agree. Some people want to read and write graphic novels because they are GRAPHIC. Nothing wrong with that. I would not call some of them sensual, but that is just my opinion. And just because I love to read and write graphic scenes doesn’t mean I won’t pick up anything else with less graphic scenes or closed bedroom scenes. It also does not mean I do not value or discount relationships.

“Men have told me they’re intimidated by the fantasy heroes and the male chest covers,” Dubois says. “But this is an industry run by women and consumed by women. What does it mean that it is stigmatized? I’d suggest it is latent misogyny in American culture.”

Okay, so I have to admit, I have felt horrible for objectifying men at times. I am not a man hater, and I think most of the reason I am not is because I married a man who has broken the mold. He loves my romantic nature and I love him for it.

To read the article from Duke University in its entirety, click HERE.

I enjoy reading and writing romance, and that will never change. I expected to run into some obstacles  but it has been a great experience so far. Most of the time our experiences are what we make them and half the challenge is overcoming our fears to find happiness.

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COMING UP:

I am happy to announce that author Kimberly Kincaid will be guest blogging next week! Her debut novella Love On The Line has recently been released and it will be fun to share in the excitement of her most recent success. Don’t forget to follow or book mark this blog so you won’t miss out on the fun!

So, what is your favorite exotic animal and why?

5 thoughts on “Coming Out of The Romance Writing Closet

  1. I love romance, and even as I still want to, some day, write a mainstream mystery that will rival some of the best, I love writing romance, reading romance, and I especially love the romance community. They ain’t got nothing like us in mainstream. Write on, Laurie, and be proud. : )

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  2. The closest I have gotten to mystery romance would be when I read my favorite paranormal authors. Otherwise, like in contemporary romance, I only like mystery in small doses for some reason. In most cases the writer is a terrific storyteller and I would enjoy the book if only it had more romance. I think balance is the key. I am excited to be a part of the romance community and have found much support and given it, even from unexpected acquaintances. I love the ‘Rock’ too. I grew up watching wrestling, married a wrestler, and still support local Indy wrestlers. Good luck with your writing 🙂

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