Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What happened to good old sweet romance?

Warning: This post is a rant based on the frustration of an author/reader (namely, me).

It’s no secret that I write inspirational and sweet romance. I also enjoy reading inspirational and sweet romances. Here’s my problem: I can’t find online groups for inspirational or sweet romance authors/readers that are active. The active romance groups...well, that’s where the rant comes in.

I joined a few romance email loops in the last couple of weeks thinking I could use the loops to promote my short story when it’s released. You know, like all the other authors on those loops. When promoting e-books, online promotion is essential. But I got some emails from these groups, including excerpts from the latest release of various romance authors. Nearly every one of the excerpts was labeled adult, explicit, graphic, or NC-17. There were quite a few labeled M/M (male/male) or m/m/f (male/male/female), and one that was labeled f/f (female/female).

Talk about an assault on my sensibilities. Yes, there are people who like that kind of thing, but as a Christian all of that goes against what I believe. I like romances as much as the next person, but what I don’t like is the graphic sex scenes that seem prevalent in so many “romances.” In some books I’ve read, I’ve had to skip over multiple scenes that were graphic about what the hero and heroine were doing. In some of them, the terms used were rather crude. There’s nothing romantic (to me) about that stuff. To me, the romance is the emotional side of the relationship, not graphic physical descriptions.

I’ve heard the saying “Sex sells” and it appears to be live and well in the romance industry. But what about those of us who prefer the love scenes to happen behind closed doors so that we don’t have to read all of those explicit descriptions? I know, there are sweet romances out there, and I appreciate the authors and publishers who have produced them, but why can the active romance groups focus on them? I would love to participate in a group or two specifically for inspirational and sweet romances. As an author, I need to find where readers of inspirational and sweet romances hang out so I can promote my work. But it seems like the word “romance” brings about two groups: those who think all romance novels are “bodice-rippers” (so far from the truth), and those who equate romance novels with hot sex scenes.

I belong to neither group. I see romance as a wonderful genre with so many possibilities for stories. They leave the reader with that warm fuzzy feeling of a happily-ever-after ending, and tug at your heartstrings all through the story. The best romances (in my mind) are the ones where the hero and heroine stay fully clothed (swimsuits are okay if there’s a beach/pool scene) and have to work to resist the temptation to strip and jump into bed together. If there is a love scene between the two of them, I don’t want to see it. To me, that’s a private moment that doesn’t need to be shown. It can be implied in so many ways without following the hero and heroine into the bedroom and giving a blow by blow description of what they’re doing.

So, here’s the question: As an inspirational and sweet romance reader and author, where do I find like-minded people? This country is so focused on sex that it can be difficult to keep the innocence (no, I don’t mean naivety) I prefer. I’m bombarded on all sides by sex (whether blatant or with innuendo) through television, movies, even music that I don’t want to read about it as well. Books are, and always have been, my escape. Unfortunately, I’m having trouble finding romance groups, forums, etc. that hold the same moral standards I do.

I did find one group that sounds like it’s got like-minded people in it, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m also getting connected with other authors of inspirational romance. One things I’ve learned through talking with those other authors is that I’m not the only one having trouble knowing where to promote my story. We’re all in the same boat. We know the readers are out there, we just don’t know where to find them.

If you know of any inspirational or sweet romance e-groups, websites, forums, etc., please let me know so I can share it with my fellow inspirational romance authors. As I said, online promotion is essential for e-books, but you have to know where to direct that promotion.

1 comment:

Judah Raine said...

Hey there - I stumbled across your blog while looking for something completely different, and your post caught my eye. As a reader of sweet/sensual romance, I share your frustrations, and decided to do something about it. Feel free to drop my yahoo loop at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/classicromancerevival or our blog at
http://www.classicromancerevival.com/blog/ or email me on judahraine@yahoo.com...
Welcome to the Revival!
Judah Raine