Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I haven't abandoned my blog, I swear. Okay, it's been, um, 7 months since I posted anything. I'm finding Facebook so much easier when I have five minutes to jot some thoughts. But I'm resolved to do a better job of keeping this blog alive. To that end, I'm posting an email I sent to one of my loops where someone posted a snarky comment, basically saying romance novels were idiotic and she couldn't believe anybody read that garbage.

Here's my response:

As a romance author of nearly 40 books, blanket criticism of the genre mostly washes off my back. I get the letters from readers ... people who tell me my books helped them through chemotherapy, mothers who escape into my stories while sitting beside their child's hospital bedside, teenage girls who tell me they've never picked up a book for pleasure until they read one of my books and now read all the time.

Everyone has different tastes, which I find wonderful! The romance genre alone is vastly wide-ranging, encompassing everything from paranormals to inspirationals to gritty romantic suspense to sweet small-town romances (which I write).

I was actually asked to give a lecture on the appeal of romance a few years ago at a local book festival. In it, I offered this quote from the aforementioned Barbara Samuels, from a keynote address at a national conference of Romance Writers of America. I know this likely won't convince anyone who continues to think romance authors are akin to the most creative crap throwers in the monkey cage (a Connie Brockway image I love!) but those who read and enjoy romances might appreciate it :)

"A lot of our critics think we are foolish women, spoiled housewives with not a thought in our heads for the greater good. They believe that our work adds nothing to the world, that our books are like so much candy, fine in their place, but bound to rot our brains and layer them with the fat that clogs real thinking.

"They are so wrong.

"We don't write romance novels out of some " foolish notion that the world is all sweetness and light. We write them in spite of the fact that there is evil afoot in the world. We write them in defiance of knowing how bad it is out there. We write romance because they are powerful acts of faith, acts of light in a dark world.

Romance novels are born of the sorrows of women – they protest, with great gentleness and deep firmness, the nature of evil. Romance novels are acts of tremendous bravery, a heart-felt dare to believe that a better world is possible. That love conquers all. That if there is enough love, it will finally blot out the darkness. We don't say that we know life is a bowl of cherries. We say that we will never stop believing in a world where beauty and honor, love and light prevail. Where a good man is honorable and treats his children well, and makes his wife not only his beloved, but his kin. Where women don't leave their babies in dumpsters, but tend them with great love. In our books, there is not a teenager who cannot be saved, no grief that cannot be healed, no challenge without an answering courage and hope.

"Is it the real world? No. Do we know that? Absolutely. Does that mean our vision of the world is false? No way. We do it though we know this is not always reality - but it is true sometimes, and that's a lot. We do it with the faith that the possibility exists. We dare to say, aloud, and with defiance: Love heals. Love counters evil. Compassion soothes an angry heart. Love heals."