Rarely am I offended by what bloggers or anyone sharing an opinion has to say. It's just an opinion, right? In fact, here on Sealed With a Kiss, we welcome it.
This guy, and a couple of his seven followers, said some pretty offensive things. Things that not only hurt, but really made me mad. Professionally and personally.
Without going into great detail, he stated that romance novels were, "purposefully meant to be a lesser work," and that included the skills of the authors who write them.
He went on to say that romance was "inexplicably" the best selling genre and that the nearly 50% illiteracy rate in the US was partially to blame, siting that, "Many people don't have the reading skills to rise much higher than children's books or romance novels."
Well, I beg to differ.
They're stories we can relate to... even the fantasy or paranormal stories are, in most cases, more about the romance that the paranormal effects.
For me, it's more about the entertainment factor. And, by the way, I know for a fact that most of my readers HAVE read Dickens, Jane Eyre and other classic love stories.
I write romance novels as an outlet for the stories brewing in my head and as a way to deal with things that haven't always been so perfect in my life. Every story I write touches on real issues that real people suffer from everyday. I've said this until I'm blue in the face.
Readers also want the "Happily Ever After" and the classics don't always offer that.
I also write romance because that stuff really does happen and I can prove it.
I posed questions on Facebook regarding romance, in hopes that real people would open up about the romantic gestures they had experienced in their lives, either as the one perusing their intended or as the object of another's affection.
Guess what I discovered?
Romantic fiction isn't far from reality at all. In fact, in my opinion, a couple of people who shared their experiences may have even had it better than any book could ever get it. Long term, monogamous, mutually beneficial, gratifying relationships. The real deal.
If I wanted gloom and doom, I'd pick up Wuthering Heights, though reading it again won't change anything. Heathcliff and Catherine aren't going to get it right this time around anymore than Romeo and Juliet will ride off into the sunset together and fill Verona, Italy with further generations of beautiful children and grandchildren.
I want something with hope. Something that will make me laugh, cry and hopefully even blush. Which brings me to another point... romance leads to more than marriage, it leads to sex. Not that all romance novels have sex, a lot don't, and that's fine, too.
That's the beauty of today's romance novel. The degree of heat and sexual content spans from one end of the spectrum, as found in religious type romances, all the way across the board to full blown, no holds barred, bend me over the kitchen table, press me up against the bedroom wall, "fornication."
Is that wrong? Why should it be? Real people have sex and in the post women's liberation and equal civil rights world we live in today, we can do it without ridicule or fear of punishment.
Does sex take away from romance? You tell me. But the way I see it, religious or moral beliefs aside, how could it? As far as I'm concerned, throwing two unlikely characters together, add a little sexual tension, toss in some flirtatious banter and you have the beginning of a romance that's likely to pack a punch.
The blog post I mentioned before not only insulted the writing of romance novels, but even went so far as to suggest in later comments that the content was unbelievable because those types of romantic gestures and story-lines never happen. Maybe not in their world, but I've witnessed it and have even experienced some of those moments myself.
In a later post on the same blog-site, one of the comments said that romance novels glorified rape by creating alpha-male heroes who ravaged unwilling women, only to have the them fall in love with their attackers later. Okay, well anyone who has a brain and lives in this century, knows that yes, before the world stopped turning a blind eye to those kind of things, some authors did write those types of story lines. But no more.
In today's publishing world, I can assure that rape and other sexually deviant behavior, is not tolerated. Admittedly, there could very well be unscrupulous publishers in some third world country that may produce that kind of story or even people who manage to fly under the radar and self-publish, but they are held in the same regard, we as a society, place child pornographers. The genre is not only "frowned upon", it's downright unacceptable and unwanted in the legitimate publishing world. Don't worry, we'll have a much more in-depth discussion on that topic for another day.
For now, I just want to say before I close, that regardless of the sub-genre or heat level you prefer, the author who wrote it, did so with the intent of making you, as a reader, smile.
No matter what some ignorant blogger does to insult our intelligence or yours, Romance novels are here to stay!! You can count on it!