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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What romantic fiction means to me

The original cover for Surrender, which I vetoed. Iain is a Scotsman, not Daniel Boone.


Yesterday, I was interviewed by a woman who's doing research for a documentary about the world of romance novels. The conversation focused heavily on my own life story and how I became an author — but we also talked about what appeals to readers about the romance genre. I emphasized the HEA — the fact that readers of romance like investing their time in books that have upbeat, happy endings as opposed to cynical, depressing, more "literary" endings.

Afterward, I found myself wondering why I chose specifically to write romance. As a journalist, I could certainly write creative nonfiction. I've always loved straight historical fiction, too — stuff like Mika Waltari's Sinhue, the Egyptian — and I have a desire to immerse myself in that.

So what is my motivation for writing romance instead of something else?

The second cover for Surrender sans plaid modesty belt
hiding his chest. Why did they hide his chest?



I suppose part of it is the fact that romantic fiction is still easier to break into than many other kinds of fiction. It enables a lot of writers to get their foot through the door of publishing. But that’s certainly not the only reason I write romance. Shallow interests like that are not enough to sustain me through the turmoil of writing a novel. And, yes, sometimes it is turmoil. I can’t imaging writing a tough scene at one in the morning motivated only by the desire to get a toe-hold on publishing. Ha!

I realized last night that my motivation for writing romance depends on the sub-genre. When it comes to writing historicals, I love the research and the chance that writing these novels gives me to bring history alive. Yes, the love story is fun, and the happy ending is emotionally satisfying. But what probably drives me page by page is the opportunity to disappear into a simpler time in history, a time when you didn’t have to worry whether your cell phone was going to give you a brain tumor or whether your kids were going to end up addicted to meth or whether the banks on Wall Street were going to conspire to rob everyone blind, and so on.

The raw cover art for Untamed. They did this one right.

Readers who prefer historicals probably love that same thing. I was a historical romance reader once — still am, in fact — so I feel like I can say this with some authority. Readers love disappearing from the vulgar concerns of the modern world to a time when lack of technology and restrictive social norms meant that men and women lived in a very different reality. Personally, I find men sexier back in history. Guys sitting in cubicles in suits doesn’t do it for me. A man struggling to plough a field the old-fashioned way or forging a sword or learning to fight with a sword is much sexier, much more romantic. Men using their physical strength to survive are just waaay hotter than men playing video games. (Of course, that’s true in part because I can’t smell these men. Yes, the modern male smells better.)

So that accounts for historicals. But what about romantic suspense?

My agent believes the I-Team books are a sort of therapy for me. They enable to me to live out some of the scarier things that have happened to me — falling off a mountain, having a gun held on me (twice), having my home broken into by two men armed with switch blades, death threats, being sexually assaulted, etc. — and have control over those events. I’m sure this is true. But when I woke up this morning, I realized there’s more to it than that.



I’ve reported on some disturbing shit over the years: the desecration of Navajo graves; the abuse of female inmates by correctional officers; child sex trafficking; companies getting away with pollution; murders; rapes; massacres. This stuff follows journalists home at night. You can't cover a murder scene or interview a rape victim or talk to a family that lost a child in a school shooting without carrying that pain inside you. Like cops, journalists agonize over the stuff we see (and develop the same dark sense of humor as a result).

So, I agree that the I-Team books are a kind of therapy for me, but not just for the things I have personally been through. The stories also enable me to take situations I felt were terribly unjust and do something about them that I wasn’t able to do in real life. That’s why Unlawful Contact had Reece passing the anti-shackling law. That’s why all the rapists and murderers die. That’s why the polluters are shut down, grave robbers are caught and prosecuted, and abusive guards brought to justice.

Justice prevails in the world I create, and I experience the catharsis of that.

So, now, why do you read romance? Why does it appeal to you more than other forms of fiction? What do you get out of these stories? Feel free to break it down by sub-genre if you need to.

28 comments:

K.O said...

Wow Pamela! Very emotional blog post here. First off, you have all my sympathy/empathy for all you've endured and certainly my admiration for how you've obviously dealt with it in so many positive ways! I would imagine that your talent for putting your feelings down on paper has been of great importance as a healing outlet(?). Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one - I admire you tremendously and not just for your writing skills! I particularly relate to your job experience. As an in-court clerk (a/k/a "Madam Clerk" in court), ALL of the scenarios you mentioned and many more I also have to hear/see/be around first-hand the emotions of victims and perpetrators alike on a daily basis in a very REAL sense. It's not easy and often grizzly to say the least.

That said, I read romance for all the reasons you stated ... and, as usual, no one writes it better than you! I've often defended (as we all constantly seem to have to) my reading of romance novels by pointing out that they are literally fiction of ALL other genres combined ... that simply feature a romantic couple as the main characters! They come with the same adventure, horror, futuristic fantasy, historical, suspense, murder mysteries (and the list goes on) as any other novel out there. The BIG DIFFERENCE is I also get to enjoy THE MOST IMPORTANT EMOTION, BAR NONE, to every human being walking the planet along with my great "story" ... LOVE! 'Nuf said!
K.

Hi, K — Thanks for your kind words and for sharing your thoughts.

Yes, I think my ability to express how I feel is the reason I've made it through all this. I don't talk about my darkest experiences much, but I do pour all of that into my books. Bethie from Ride the Fire is as close as I've come to writing myself in some respects, and that drained me completely.

I didn't know you were a court clerk. Yes, Madam Clerk, you see it all! The good, the bad, the deranged, the seriously ugly. I imagine at times it's hard just to get the words down when you're listening to someone recount something terrible. And the ugliness that violent offenders bring into the courtroom with them — it makes for good TV drama, but in real life, it can be pretty scary and terrible.

Go you!

As for LOVE being the supreme human emotion — I so agree! I told the filmmaker yesterday that people preach about needing to love your spouse and be faithful and raise your children well and live good lives. And all of these very basic and very important things are a part of romantic fiction.

All the stuff we worry about on our deathbeds — THAT'S the stuff that's explored in romance novels. And that's why they can be so emotionally moving.

Thanks for posting!

Oh, and I totally agree with you about the fact that romantic fiction has all other kinds of fiction in it. It's sci-fi plus love. Or historical fiction plus love. Or suspense plus love.

It seems that adding "love" to the mix suddenly makes it uninteresting to this cynical world we live in.

It's funny because "literary" fiction often includes love and sex, but only when it's cynical and twisted (for example, Charles Bukowski's writing). If the guy is disrespectful of the woman, uses her sexually and then passes out in his own piss and vomit, that's "Literature."

If he makes the woman climax, holds her and kisses her afterward and makes her breakfast in the morning, that's silly romantic fiction.

Kinda makes you wonder about the state the world is in, doesn't it?

Luci said...

I love your post Pamela - you did such a perfect analysis of why you write romance.

I started out reading thrillers/mysteries/crime books and I really enjoyed those, but once i read a romance book i realised that while i still loved the thriller/crime story the romance became essential to any story i read.

Now i admit that I passed through some really tough times personally and those times affected what I read. So why do I read romance? First of all because even though each book is different I at least know that at the end there is a HEA. I passed through such a difficult three years that while i know there are some awesome authors out there and i respect each and everyone's writing, if there isn't a HEA its not for me.

I get clients in my shop who suggest books they loved and tell me :Oh it was beautiful! I cried buckets reading it! - ehm thanks a million but i will pass on that. Mind you, i can take tortured heroes or gruesome killings (Karen Rose is one of my favourite authors and her killings are chilling), it is important that a book does not effect my mood adversely. So I cannot even read books that are sad throughout. Also i need loads of action and character interaction - I mainly mean dialogue but other stemy action too of course :).

Another reason I read is to lose myself in the world of books and romance allows me to live in a parallel world. I can switch off whatever is going on around me and just enjoy my book. Its an escape from reality i guess into a world where fairytale endings are possible. It helps me be positive in every aspect of my life and makes me believe that I am right in believing in second chances and the possibility that everything will be all right in the end.

I love romance i guess because i love a good love story that makes me sigh.

I love romantic suspense because it combines romance and suspense and therefore makes a book absolutely perfect and complete for me.

I love historical romance - well because I love history and while I have not read history books for years historical romances give me insights into really interesting aspects of historical eras. After i read the McKinnon books i was gushing about how interesting it was that the English and French were fighting each other on American soil - which in hindsight shows how lacking my historical knowledge really is. But its thanks to you that I got a glimpse into that interesting period.

I also find Eloisa James' books really interesting because besides great writing a great story she inserts historical details into her books that are really fascinating.

Hi, Luci — No worries. I took care of it. Not sure why it posted three times. Blogger is strange sometimes.

Everything you said in your post resonated with me. I'm willing to read about bad things happening as long as I'm guaranteed that it all works out in the end. Why read a book that is going to cast a cloud over your entire day?

I didn't realize the MacKinnon's Rangers books had offered up so much history, but I think that historical romance readers often report learning more from romance novels than from history classes in school. The way they teach history often makes it dry and boring. As a student of archaeology, I've taken more than my share of history classes, but my imagination always had me spinning off in other directions while the professors lectured. LOL!

As you point out, the escape value of these novels is high because no matter how gritty the stories get, they always end up with things turning out right. There are people who think romance novels are stupid for that reason. Well, everyone is free to read what they choose, but I don't see romance readers up in anyone's business because they choose to read something else.

Thanks for posting!

BTW, it is now 100 degrees outside. Our first 100-degree day in about two years.

K.O said...

[AARG - I just wrote a great post ... it's always the good ones - LOL! - and your site wigged out again on me. *&%$#@ - GRRR!] Okay, Plan B - I'm going to Word and honing my thoughts ... I need preservation! ;D]

Exactly Pamela ... and why the heck is that so? Why is it that reward for writers only comes when they write something that is in a vein of the most depressing/depraved/twisted human emotions anyone could possibly imagine - i.e., Pulitzer Pize winning novels?!! You know, books where you walk about feeling like you should "just get the gun" already because life is just a piece of crap not worth living! (Result: Closing the book, head-hung, foot-dragging to the bottle or the fridge to drown your sorrows!) AAARG! Face it Pamela ... unless you turn over a new leaf and learn how to just start writing "miserable" right now ... you may never receive a coveted "literary" award like the Pulitzer for your efforts. (Who ARE those judges on those panels anyway? "Ton" decendents?!! LOL!) Of course, the alternative is you WILL receive literally hundreds of praiseworthy posts and reviews from readers like myself for your incredible ability to make my heart physically ache for your characters, yet knowing our protagonists will eventually find their way to the ultimate triumph in life we are all ACTUALLY working to achieve, that being a true "love" gifted from another human being. (Actual Result: Closing the book on the last page and walking over to my hubby in a dream-like state giving him a big *kiss/sigh* and floating through the rest of my day with a stupid smile on my face, just daydreaming about Tessa and Julian's love.) Any "reward" in that? Hopefully, as you ponder that career track ... I'm certainly PRAYING if you decide to go the "literary reward" route, you find a way to perhaps juggle both! *wink* ;)
K.

Argh! Sorry about blogger! It needs medication or something...

Much to many people's dismay — "When are you going to write a real book?" — I have no lust for literary prizes. A Pulitzer for my journalistic work would be nice (but is very unlikely, given that I've scaled back investigative reporting).

Truth is, I don't write for prizes. When I was 10 or so, I realized that a good story stays in a reader's heart forever. I told my mom that I wanted to write books that crept inside people's hearts so that I could be a part of them forever. (I hope that doesn't sound creepy...)

Basically, I want to write stories that touch people. Hearing from you that you floated through your day thinking of Tessa and Julian makes my day. That to me is the most satisfying thing there is.

That’s not to say I wonÆt some day write something other than romance. I have stories inside me that aren't romance that will need to come out one day, particularly one involving Denmark during WWII. But I have no plans to quit writing romance.

Debbie H said...

I choose romance for the HEA first.
I love historical writers(you sweetie) who tell it like it is, how it really happened, how the characters would have lived on a daily basis and still found time to find their true mate (yes, by smell sometimes), have children and be honestly happy.

I love your I-team series because as you said, there is the HEA, the bad guys get caught and punished and there is a strong bond between the hero and heroine from the struggle they endured and survived.

If I had to chose whether to live in the here and now or go back to Iain and his brothers time period, I would go back. Life was dreadfully hard, but it was honest.

I'll stop now or the rant will not end. LOL

Zeek said...

Yes! Amen! You got it sister!!

um yeah, you voiced my reasons for reading romance exactly how I would too...if I were anywhere near as talented as you...which I'm not. Love you!

(btw, still waiting for Conner's story. Just sayin.) :D

Kelseya said...

Oddly enough, even as a history major, I just could never get into historical romance. I was always so frustrated with the societal restraints put upon the characters that I end up tearing at my hair just wanting them to say and do what they mean.

On the other hand, I love romantic suspense novels for very much the same reasons that you illuminated, as well as the fact that in most cases, the heroine is as kick - butt as the hero.

I have dealt with some of the same terrible situations that you have, and when I read books that have a HEA, and the characters overcome their demons, I feel like it might just be possible for me to do the same thing.

Diane W. said...

LMHO at your comment on how historical men smell. That is the one thing that makes my husband crack up when he sees the covers of historical romance books. It's become a joke between us. He'll look at whatever book I'm reading and say, "What does he smell like?" And, I'll reply with something like "cinnamon, pine, sage, the sea, the woods, etc." And then he responds with this quote from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail":

Large Man: Who's that then?
Dead Collector: I dunno. Must be a king.
Large Man: Why?
Dead Collector: He hasn't got shit all over him.

He's waiting for the day that some brave romance writer will say, "He smelled like BO, urine and vomit after spending the afternoon on the battlefield with his men." :) :)

I won't even get into his comments on the completely clean shaven chests and faces of all these supposed historical heroes.

He's such a man. Which is why I love him, he's been my own personal romance hero for the past 22 years. ;)

Anyway, I read romance for fun and escape. I love the HEAs. I don't read books to be depressed at the end. I can watch the news for that. And, actually, I think it was because I was a journalist that I started reading romance. You can only take so many stories of rape, incest, murder and victimization of one sort or another before you want to read about someone who is a knight in shining armor. Someone who helps the down-trodden instead of exploiting them. Someone who tries to right the wrongs in the world instead of shrugging his shoulders and walking in the other direction. Someone who respects and cherishes women instead of belittling and using them.

So, I love romance heroes. They make me sigh and swoon. And every girl should swoon at least once a day! Although your heroes make me swoon quite a bit more than that! :)

Diane

Laurie D. said...

I absolutely love the truths and injustices that come to light in your work.

I a legal assistant in a small civil practice law office and while we now only do civil litigation and other basic law, we used to do some criminal work. Some of the cases we handled were extremely ugly - there are some seriously twisted characters out there.

All I can say is thank you for sharing the experiences that have made you the incrediby talented storyteller you are, and to ask that you please keep up the good work!

Pamela, I really, really enjoyed this post and the comments. 'The things we think about on our deathbeds' - yes, that's what romance novels are about.

Like you, I find happy endings satisfying. I enjoy reading, and writing, stories where justice is served and the characters struggle to lead worthwhile lives. Loyalty, perseverance and faithfulness are qualities worth celebrating.

It's been my experience that romance writers are some of the kindest, most generous people on the planet, not to mention just plain fun to be around. They have a spirit that comes through in their writing and reaches readers. I think that's something the world needs now more than ever.

Sara said...

Pamela, how wonderful that you've managed to channel all those horrible, painful experiences into your books and ultimately in a positive direction.

I used to read loads of horror stories...I just loved them. Until 9/11. At that point, I abruptly changed and wanted to read nothing but romance and HEAs. It's hard enough to deal with the horrors in everyday life, let alone adding to it with recreational reading.

Sonya said...

I don’t aim to read romance specifically - I pick up books that interest me. What annoys me is that you can walk into a bookshop and find everything written by a woman shoved into the romance section, but a man can write the world’s sappiest story and be held up as something different.

If you look at a book like Hard Evidence, I think the happy ending is needed, justified. I love that romantic suspense can deal with some dark and serious things and take you to dark and serious places, and I like that we know there is going to be some sort of justice at the end.

I was reading a book recently - set in the early 1900s - that has words like ‘classic’ and ‘masterpiece’ attached to it, and I hated it. The main character spends her whole life being abused and accused of crimes she didn’t commit. Her fiancé cheats on her, marries another woman, leaves her alone and pregnant and then dies before the truth can come out. And then after having her child taken away and more years or terrible hardship, she dies. I don’t care if this is considered ‘literature’. There was no balance in the story and I thought the book was just dreadful. It had nothing positive to say, and I don’t see why a book has to be so pathetic and upsetting in order to be considered impressive.

After a book that depressing I generally go searching for a light-hearted romance to cheer me up!

I have a huge interest in history and nearly majored in that at university, so I like to read some historical romance from that perspective, rather than from a romance point of view. Certain writers - Sara Donati and a certain author named Pamela Clare - write from such an interesting historical point of view.
From a romance point of view I’m a bit confused. We were only just looking over our family tree, and seeing all these women from previous generations having ten, twelve, FIFTEEN children...well, for me (I don’t want any children), I have a bit of trouble seeing that kind of ‘happy ever after’ as a barrel of laughs. I’ve spent huge amounts of time in countries like India and I’ve seen what a lifestyle of no birth control and no hygiene and a caste/class system and a sexist society is like...and that’s why I like historicals for the historical perspective rather than for the romance. No way in hell do I want to live in the past.

Sonya said...

Oh, and you read about writers doing amazing things to research their books, but you have to take the cake! I'm sorry it was involuntary though...you read these things happening to the characters in the I-Team, and it's frightening that this could actually be real life we're reading.

Hi, Debbie — I appreciate your rant. :-)

I'm glad you like the bits about daily life in historicals, because I just love writing that stuff. It utterly fascinates me. No detail is too small.

As for the I-Team, yes, justice must be served. The bad guys must meet their fate. I wish that's how real life were.

I'm not sure I would go back in time. There are moments when I feel that way for certain. But then I love taking hot showers. And I love the fact that I didn't have to have 15 kids and marry some old dude that my father chose for me and whom I could not divorce. Ever. Modern life might not be very romantic, but it's a lot more convenient. :-)

Hi, Kelseya — Thanks so much for posting. I'm sorry to hear you've gone through some of these bad experiences. There's too much of that in women's lives.

I think some women who've experienced trauma enjoy seeing a kick-ass heroine because it helps them vicariously experience that sense of power. I find those kinds of heroines in urban fantasy, paranormal, romantic suspense and futuristic romance.

My heroines aren't all that kick-butt, actually, but that's only because I want to see the heroes do something heroic. That's my fantasy. :-)

I completely hear what you're saying about the HEA. If the hero and heroine can prevail, the story leaves us with a sense of hope for our own lives. Hope is a powerful thing.

Turning hope into action in our own lives — that's the most powerful thing of all. Go us!

Hi, Zeek — I'm writing Connor's story next. For a while, it didn't have a publisher, but that's all taken care of now. So you'll get his story. I promise!

I'm sure a lot of women feel the way we do about romantic fiction. And I think you do a pretty darn good job of voicing your opinions. So there! :-)

Hi, Diane — Your hubby sounds wonderful. Good for you for finding one of the good ones. He's right that these guys probably reeked and some had fleas. But I'll leave that level of detail out of my novels. LOL! As for the shaved man-chest — I don't even really like that now. I prefer to know the man I'm attracted to isn't so vain that he shaves his boobies and isn't so young that he has no chest hair. Y'know?

I hear you about the journalist thing. You know exactly what it's like. We've had a rash of suicides in Boulder this year (one of them being a friend of mine — imagine getting that press release), as well as some shootings. Covering child abuse and rape are the toughest for me. And romance novels are such an antidote to that. Then the I-Team books let me have revenge on bad guys. And I like that.

But I have to ask: Does reading the I-Team books make you feel like you're at work? I'd hate to do that to anyone?

I loved this: "Every girl should swoon once a day."

Hi, Laurie — Thanks for posting! And thank you for your very kind words.

I've always wondered how criminal attorneys deal with representing reprehensible people. They must be idealists — people who believe so strongly in every person's right to a good defense that they're able to deal with people who are guilty of terrible crimes. I'm not sure I'd be able to do that, honestly.

You're welcome, and I will do my best to write books worth reading.


Hi, Jennie — I'm glad you enjoyed the post. The thoughts were rolling around in my head, so it was good to get them out. I'm enjoying everyone's responses as well.

You bring up a point that someone made this past weekend at RomCon. I think it was Carly Phillips... No, it was Jo Beverly. She gave a speech and talked about the values that romance novels embrace. Then she talked about how the romance community is full of kind-hearted people, both readers and writers. Because these qualities matter to us, she said, the romance community is typically a place where kindness and compassion prevails. OK, so those weren't her words, but you get the gist.

I think she's right. The women I've met in the romance community are caring, nurturing people who are fun to be around. We care about relationships, and that means we care about people. :-)

Hi, Sara — Thank you. That's very kind of you to say. I remember telling myself hours after I'd fallen while climbing that my life would only make sense if I became a writer because then I'd have a place to put all this over-the-top stuff. So I guess things turned out the way they were meant to turn out.

Interesting! I can completely understand the shift in your reading. We did an article once at the newspaper comparing pre-9/11 attitudes in the U.S. to post-9/11 attitudes. And it's very clear that there's been a shift to a more serious, less easy-going way of thinking. I have some readers who were perilously close to Ground Zero on that day, and it will be with them forever.

Diane W. said...

No worries, the I-team novels don't make me feel like I'm at work. :) But I love the level of familiarity I have with the background. I was primarily a broadcast journalist, so it was a bit different, but enough the same to make me smile and laugh out loud at times at the newsroom antics and situations. I also love that they're set in Denver, since I lived there for 12 years.

Both of those things combined give me lots of warm fuzzies when I read your novels. The scene with Kara and Connor at the Natural History Museum feeding that growling cougar coins was one of those moments. I've done that with my kiddos more times than I can count! It was always the highlight of our trips there. I love it when I read scenes like that in your books! :)

Hi, Sonya —

Interesting point! Romance — and women's fiction, in general — seems to be relegated to the back shelves in a lot of bookstores, as if women's interests are somehow embarrassing.

I've always wondered who gets to decide what's a classic and what's not. Because there are some books out there that are famous — and amazingly boring. I had some lit classes in high school and college that should have been titled Torture by Book 101.

I absolutely hear you about the 15 kids bit and lack of birth control. My grandmother had 12 kids. I'd have banished my husband to the barn looooong before that. I'm grateful for the two kids I have, but I'm also grateful that I only have two kids. :-)

As for my "involuntary research" — at least my life hasn't been boring. I have friends who say, "Just write about your life." And I think that in a round-about way, I am.

Hi, Diane — I'm so glad the books are able to bring you back to Denver. I love that saber-tooth tiger! I fed it coins as a little kid. I think every Coloradan has done that at some point. My kids did it. "Rowr!" LOL! I wonder how they maintain it and keep it going. It's older than I am. (Holy heck!)

I've been on TV news sets a couple of so I have some sense of what your job must have been like for you at your job. I've also watched TV reporters on the scene because they show up the same places that print journos go. They tend to be a bit more aggressive, too, and I think that's because they have a live TV deadline. Print deadlines are more forgiving.

BTW, I love Monty Python.

Diane W. said...

LOL...I meant sabertooth, not cougar. Good grief, I've been away too long!

And, as for the differences between broadcast and print journalists.....a lot of broadcast people have that prima donna thing going. "I'm not talented enough to be an actor, but I still want my mug on TV." They're fun to work with. *insert eyerolling smilie here*

After a few years of that, I decided I'd had enough, and I went to work as an editor at TVGuide magazine. They had a regional office then (late '80s, early '90s)in the tech center off Yale, so it was a fun commute from our home in Westminster (over by Standley Lake), but it was a great job. Still had the deadline pressure (I work better under a deadline), but I didn't have to deal with the "helmet heads" anymore. ;-) Not too many helmet heads in print journalism, from what I remember. I noticed they tended to be more eclectic in their dress. My favorite print reporter friend had long black hair, dressed in all black and painted his fingernails black to match. The print reporters also tended to be more fun, and I much preferred hanging out with them than my broadcasting colleagues. :)

LOL, Diane!

Helmet heads. *snicker*

No, not many helmet heads in print. When we go to SPJ conferences, there's always a moment where they award scholarships to students studying both broadcast and print. And we can always tell who the broadcast people are — they're well dressed, pretty (or handsome) and very well shorn — no goatees, no long hair, nice teeth. The whole bit. I have my moment giggling about that whenever I write about the TV news in the I-Team series. Who is the character? Nell Parker? LOL!

Print people aren't slobs exactly. They dress very casually. In our newsroom, I wear sort of hippie dresses and Birkenstocks. And I'm the boss. The publisher wears T-shirts, shorts and sandals. My managing editor wears shorts and has lots of shirts with palm trees on them. From there we go to jeans and T-shirts and "whatever was on my floor when I woke up this morning." I don't know anyone who wears a tie.

Wish you were still hear! It would be fun to have a colleague who was also a romance reader. :-)

Elise said...

Hi Pamela,

3 reasons for me to read romance genre:
- escape real life
- learn English differently
- get flutters in my belly again!

I started reading HR when I was a younger lady beginning at 16 ad stopped approx. at 22 years old when I started dating my boyfriend. I'm 35 today and started again reading contemporary romance genre (romantic suspense mostly) 2 years ago when I put my hands on second-hand books in English (I'm French and live in France for the record!)(that was Nora Roberts' trilogy Blood Brothers). I found myself fascinated by the casual day-to day English language (that 's not what you are used to learning at school or speaking at work) and of course by the HEA.
If I analyze myself a bit deeper, and because I know I'm trough a troubled period of my life, I would say that I'm reading romances because my life was then and is actually boring and I try to escape from reality as much as I can. I'm a mother of 2 boys -5 years old and 8 months old and I feel I'm stuck in the routine. My sex life with my "husband" (we're not married but have been leaving together for 11 years!) is what you call vanilla sex and indeed I'm bored! I would love some alpha male calling the shots for a change!!
I'm also not very talkative so I feel always pleasantly surprised by witty and funny conversations (I laughed so much when I read the conversation between Reece and Kara about tuna fish taste of women!!).
And of course the HEA is a must!
Bye

Zeek said...

"I'm sure a lot of women feel the way we do about romantic fiction. And I think you do a pretty darn good job of voicing your opinions. So there! :-)"

haha! Why thank you! :D But that 's probably due more to the forcefulness of my personality than any kind of talent!

Very cool about Conner's Book! YEA! :P

Hi, Elise — Sorry it took me so long to get back here. Once the work week picks up, I'm gone for a while...

Having small children is tough. It's wonderful in a lot of ways but every woman who's been a mother knows that infants and toddlers are a lot of work. You love them more than life itself... But they're a lot of work.

And having small kids tends to take the zing out of a person's sex life too. As I told people when my boys were little, children are their own form of contraception. (Didn't work for my grandmother, though.)

I'm glad romance novels are able to carry you away from that. The language aspect of it is an added bonus. You're right that what they teach us in school is not really how people speak. I studied French, Spanish, Latin, and German while in Denmark, and it's great — if I'm looking for the bathroom or taking the train at noon. (Eddie Izzard does a hilarious bit about learning French. It's on YouTube.)

Thanks for posting! And I'm so glad to have someone from France posting regularly. We're very fond of France in my house.

Hi, Zeek — Dinnae be sellin' yourself short, aye, lass? <-- That's me channeling Connor.

Yes, Connor's book next. And I can't wait to be with my Rangers again!

Elise said...

Hi Pamela!
I didn't mean by posting to tell so much about my life but hey, thank you so much for your answer. It cheered me up. You perfectly understood my problem!!
;-)
I had a look on You tube. Eddie Izzard was indeed quite funny. I am however impressed that such a large audience could get so much French.

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