So, let’s just get this out of the way now, shall we?…Yes, I am a woman and a writer. Fallopian tube-toting, over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder (well, more like modestly sized landscaping rocks if you want to get technical here), leg shaving feminine-type whose chromosomes apparently come in a lovely vintage lace pattern, conveniently shaped like teacups with a Laura Ashley pattern when you look at them under the microscope…yada yada yada, the whole nine yards.
With all of that said, I’m not so sure I have a truly and fully romantic bone in my body. Anywhere. If I was born with one, well, it must have been broken in the inaugural face-first playground-slide luge of early childhood, and it just never healed properly. Pretty sure I was howling “For Spartaaaaa!” at the moment I chipped that front tooth too. I blame that part on the pixie sticks…sugar is a powerful drug, and there were times when I was a five year old Hunter S. Thompson, complete with freckles and two skinny little brown braids.
Anyway, back to the romance-bone stuff. I run from the threat of weepy and/or “girl gets married at the end and her life is now magical and complete” films, preferably in the direction of something with lots of explosions, martial arts, or serial killing going on. Don’t get me wrong, the acting still has to be solid. Nobody likes crap acting unless it’s a SyFy movie. And vampires have never sparkled for me – nope, they’re permanently set in my head in more of a “bad-asses that do spinning roundhouse kicks in their sleep and possess a butt-load of weapons we’d all like to get our hands on” role. No discrimination on the ass-kicking skills here either, my friends. I just want them deadly and sarcastic, and have personally never stayed up late at night, deeply concerned over whether or not they will ever find life-partners via a meaningful relationship with anywhere from one to four billionaire construction workers that are ripped—flawless six-pack abs and other such accoutrements, bow-chicka-bow-bow, etc—by day, and turn into even hotter, growling possessive totally ripped werewolves by night. As Austin Powers would say, “Not my literary bag, baby.”
Don’t get me wrong, though — I know some very talented women (and men) that write in the sexy side of the romance genre and that is totally their bag. It’s their Shakespeare, their Mozart, their Sistine Chapel Mural and they’re very successful at it. Hell, “romance” seems to be the biggest buzz-word in the self-publishing industry these days, so how can you blame them for wanting to write it?
Before you assume I’m bashing an entire genre, or even a sub-section therein, please let me assure you that is not the intent here…all I want is to serve up some food for thought, in a way you will remember: Romance and sex are big moneymakers, part of a thriving self-publishing industry, yes, absolutely…but there is also more out there in the wild, wonderful word of literature than boy meets girl, or girl meets boy, or boy meets boy, or girl meets girl, or any other combination of the above extending out to possibly up to like six people, all hooking up, shacking up, and making hot, sweaty, dirty, tender moogie for the rest of their hot, sweaty, sexy, dirty, tender polyamorous and/or monogamous lives. And how often are you hearing about anything else these days?
If you answered, “Shit…almost never” please do me this one little favor:
The next time you’re in an online bookstore, or the brick and mortar variety, if you haven’t done so in a while, why not try looking at the self-pubbed titles in the genres you like without the “romance” tacked on at the end? What can it hurt, for maybe ten minutes or so? Browse the sci-fi and fantasy sections, take a look in thrillers and horror. You might find something new and different, maybe a new author that surprises you…and if not, you’ve lost absolutely nothing for the effort.