So I wanted to try the opposite of one of those articles.
I want to talk about how we are the opposite of the stereotypical bodice ripper with Fabio starring front and center. Let's talk about how different Romance novels are.
One thing I love is how much variety there is in the Romance World (or Romancelandia as we affectionately call it). If you want a book about a surfer heroine who time travels to Scotland and meets her hero? There's a book for that (Highland Games by Laura Hunsaker). What if you want a Navy SEAL whose platoon was sold out and is trying to clear his name but also has an investigative journalist dogging his steps? There's a book for that (Off the Grid by Monica McCarty). What if you want a fallen woman who was done wrong but her hero respects her and shows her what love really is? There's a book for that (The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan FREE). What if you want a hero who looks like bearded Captain America who falls for the good girl? There's a book for that! (Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder). What if you want a vampire/ angel/viking who falls for a human lawyer, well, you guessed it, there's a book for that (Kiss of Temptation by Sandra Hill). If you want a book that has demons, angels, magic, and an Arabic feel to the mythology, there's a book for that! (Fate's Match by Elysabeth Grace).If you want it, I'm sure there's a book for that.
One thing you'll notice, no matter how much people cry "formulaic!" or "cliche!" or "tropes!" is that even the ones that have similar tropes, are different. It's what's in the middle that's important.
If you want a book about a damsel in distress rescued by her prince, it's out there. But...what if your damsel in distress rescues herself?
What if, in between your "Once upon and time," and your "they lived happily ever after," something unexpected happens? Something that sets the reader's world on its axis. Something that creates a romance fan for life. This is what we Romance fans live for; that middle part, that in between part. I know each Romance novel I pick up is a promise of "happily ever after," but it's how those characters get to that point that keeps me flipping pages. That journey is what makes each Romance novel different, and that difference should be celebrated instead of poked fun at for clicks during Valentine's Day.
Instead of trashy and lurid, Romance novels are uplifting and happy. They can be everything. They can be empowering, entertaining, and enjoyable. They can be intense, dark, light, easy, fluffy, and fun. I really wish people would leave the stereotypes out of the picture.
We've even taken back the term "bodice ripper." (quick side note: If you ever get a chance to visit L.A. you should stop by the Ripped Bodice, a bookstore dedicated only to Romance, and seriously, they are amazing! They do a lot of author events, and a lot of good in the community).
And we not only have taken back bodice rippers, we're taking back Valentine's Day. We refuse to let trashy clickbait articles about guilty pleasures take over a day celebrating love. You want to celebrate love by reading your favorite comfort read, go for it. You want to read something new and out of your comfort zone, do it! You want to read an old bodice ripper? You rip that bodice! But you want to poke fun at Romance novels when you haven't read one since 1972? Nope. Come back after you've read anything written in the past 5 years. You need some recs? I gotchu.
Here's a twitter account you might enjoy, especially since it's Black History Month here in America: @WOCInRomance
And Sarah MacLean has a great list here
For some of The Romance Gems' amazing stories, check out our Bookstore, but don't forget to enter the February Giveaway here!
And if you want a Scottish blacksmith vampire try my short story The Broken Highlander which is free this week on amazon :)
$.99 on all other platforms
Previously published in the charity anthology Shades of Pink Volume 2, The Broken Highlander is the prequel to Highlander Reborn.
In the darkest hours after waking from death to his life as a vampire, blacksmith Nevin MacLachlan must learn to adjust to his new existence. While he adapts quickly to his enhanced senses, he hates the vampires that took everything from him. Forsaking the Nightkind, he plans to survive on his own.
No one said it would be easy.
For centuries he tries to blend in with humans, but what kind of blacksmith only works at night? After being chased from his home time and time again, Nevin no longer has compassion for the humans he once knew.
The only things keeping him from becoming completely feral are his sense of honor, and the teasing memory of the woman who changed him. With no clan to belong to, human or Nightkind, Nevin finds out survival isn’t the only thing to live for, and that eternity is a long time to hate what you’ve become.
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