Reading and writing smut in public

On the hazards of reading and writing romance

imageI’ve recently become open about reading romance novels to more than just the friends that giggle with me in the romance section of various book stores, and more than that – I’ve become open about the fact that I like to write this genre.

Reading romance novels in public can be difficult in its own right.  For some reason, strangers and friends find the need to look down on you in disdain for reading what they deem to be low brow literature.  Some friends or coworkers smirk or shake their heads when they learn of my reading habits, while others mutter, “I thought you were smarter than that.”  Ha!  No other genre is more looked down upon than romance.  The girls at http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com talk a lot about this issue in their book, “Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels” (which I highly recommend to anyone who loves romance novels).  In my opinion, most of the people that look down on this genre:  1) think only dumb or silly girls read it, 2) have never read a romance novel,  or 3) haven’t fully explored all of the subgenres (What? You say you like Amish people?  Well buddy, I assure you there is at least one romance novel for you.  You like books on murders, the regency time period, and petticoats?  Lucky you, because there are a ton of them).

Over the course of my business travels, I’ve uploaded many a romance novel onto my iPad.  I find that reading ebooks stops a lot of the pointless hassles that are accompanied with burying your nose in a book with a cover that displays models in mid o-face.  But reading on the iPad has brought its own hassles, people leaning over to see what I’m reading or flight attendants reading over my shoulder.

Worse still, is admitting that you write romance novels.  Some people, when they learn that I’m a writer, are very supportive until they find out that I write romance.  Then, throats are cleared, bodies fidget, and noses turn up.  I think the thing that makes them the most upset is the whole bit about adult content and sex.  Adult content turns up in all genres, but obviously is more likely to be present in romance (second place to fantasy writers, you dirty elvish freaks :p).  Personally, I enjoy books with adult content (be it sex, struggling, or what have you), because I like my stories to be messy.  It’s the messy bits in a story that really reach out and grab you.  Like life,  books would be boring without the messy stuff to balance out the poetic prose and the neat and tidy.

I’ve learned to not be embarrassed when other people frown at what I read or write, but it has taken me awhile to get here.  Today, if people look shocked when I tell them what I write, I let my lips curl into a fiendish smile that one of my heroines might wear and begin to defend my genre.

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