Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Romance Rules!





Hello! Welcome to Romance Rules. Today is my first post and I wanted to talk about something most likely near and dear to anyone reading this blog: Romance books. I'm going to admit something to you that I'm not very proud of. It wasn't until the past couple years that I actually started reading romance novels. Before that I was one of those people who snubbed my nose up to romance books. Like I said, I'm not proud of it but its true. I had a friend who used to read romance books and I teased her endlessly. I pictured them all with Fabio on the cover (not that there's anything wrong with those books) but I thought they were all cheesy. Then I moved out of the state I'd lived in most of my life, became a stay at home mom for the very first time and I was the loneliest I'd ever been. My husband worked a lot and I missed all my friends and my old job. On a whim I picked up a book called, A Soft Place to Fall by Barbara Bretton. I didn't tell anyone I was reading it but then I didn't really have to. I devoured the book so quickly no one had time to notice. Still not willing to admit I read romance novels I thought, hmmm, maybe it was a fluke.. Then I picked up Lori Foster and fell in love. The stories weren't cheesy at all. The men were strong alphas and the heroines were women I could look up to. I began searching the web and bookstores for all the romance books I could find. Suddenly I wasn't so lonely anymore. I didn't gripe at my husband when we came home because I wanted to go back home or because he had an outlet to the outside world because he worked. I met friends (most online) who loved romance books themselves. We bonded, talked books and our favorite hero's or authors. I felt great. Then my old love for writing started to drift to the surface. I'd always thought I'd write children's books but it just never worked out for me. I couldn't finish. My mind began to wander, maybe I can write a romance book. I sat down to give it a try and found my passion. Besides my family and friends I found something else I loved.

Now I look back on my pre-romance reading and writing days and think, look at all the time you wasted because you were afraid to give something a try. I don't know why so many people refuse to give romance novels a try but I still see it to this day. If I tell some people what I write they give me a half smile saying, "Oh. You write those books." I stand proud behind romance books. They helped out out of a hard time in my life. They gave me an outlet. I'm a better mom and wife because of the books I read and write. If someone asks me if I write romance the only answer I have is a emphatic, "heck ya! I'm a romance lover and proud."

When did you start reading romance books? Have you always read them or were you like me and a little ify at first? How have the books you've read touched your lives?


To celebrate my very first Romance Rules post I'm giving away some magnets, postcards, and a handmade sun catcher to one lucky poster. I'll draw a name Sunday and post the winner in another comment. Have fun everyone and thanks for hanging out with us at Romance Rules.

22 comments:

Terra Kent said...

I started reading romance at about age 7, I was an only child, lived out in the country, it helped me pass the time

Dara Edmondson said...

Good post, Kelley. I read my first romance novel at a summer camp in upstate New York under the covers with a flashlight! It was a Sydney Sheldon a bunch of girls were passing around and the only reason we all read it was someone had read a juicy sex scene aloud. We were all so curious, we devoured the book!

Kelley said...

I wish I'd started when I was younger like the two of you!

Veronica Arch said...

I had an aunt though who devoured Harlequin's. My mother used to make fun of her and I think I took on some of that snobby attitude, too. But I am a complete convert like you!

I've learned that Romance is just a name for the kind of story and has nothing to do with quality or enjoyment. A good romance is just like a good sci fi, mainstream or horror novel. And writing romance is one of the greatest joys of my life!

Kelley said...

Thanks Veronica! Another convert like me!!

Desirée Lee said...

Like you, I got started late in reading romance. Now I don't think I will ever catch up. *LOL*

Growing up, I remember my grandma was a voracious reader. She always read fantasy and sci-fi though. She had the entire Lord of the Rings series from the time I was a little kid. She read all the Dune books. That was the literary influences I had growing up.

My mom isn't a reader. She likes magazines but she couldn't sit and read a novel without being bored to tears, no matter how good it is. She never had much respect for romance as a genre. Her way of saying it was "Trashy romance novels." So that was my opinion of romance. Trashy.

My friend Angi has read Harlequins since we were in high school. I never did get in to those. Again, I thought they fell under that "Trashy Romance" category. While she was reading Harlequin, I was reading Stephen King.

I tried to read a Danielle Steel book about 15 years ago and I just couldn't get in to it. It didn't grab me so again, I dismissed romance as trashy fluff.

A couple of years ago, a friend turned me on to Kim Harrison's novels. They're paranormals. I was a fan of Anne Rice, and a huge fan of the vampire genre in general so my friend thought I'd like Kim's work too. I was hooked by Kim's work immediately. I'm on her fan mailing list. I'm a proud "Hollows Minion" with the burning bunny to prove it! (if you're a fan you know what I am talking about *LOL*)

From Kim's lists, I saw other authors posting about their own Yahell groups so I joined some of them and I was introduced to a whole different breed of authors - romance authors. I started reading excerpts, etc and found out that not all romance books are trashy, passionate sex on the beach at dawn with the handsome bodice-ripper like I thought they were. Boy were my eyes opened!

If you had told me a year ago that I'd be a published romance author in 2007, I probably would have told you to get your head checked. Serve me up another helping of crow please...

I've learned that I can write what I like and incorporate romance elements in it without being trashy or disreputable. I've started reading more and more romance, particularly ebooks. My opinion on romance has changed. I'm sure there are some "trashy" romances out there. There are also some spectacular pieces of fiction writing that fall under the romance umbrella.

--Des

Stacy~ said...

I was somewhere around 10 or 11, and I snagged my mom's Harlequin Presents. I was instantly hooked. I absolutely loved visiting the Book Mobile every week, anxious to get more romances. I devoured them like a bag of potato chips.

They've changed my life in the way it made me believe it's better not to just settle, that I'm worth it LOL. One of the authors whose books affected me because of the incredibly strong romance is Diana Gabaldon's highlander series. It features the most exquisite love story, flaws and all.

Amy Ruttan said...

Congrats on a great post Kelley girl.

I read my first romance novel with my Nanny as she lay dying about the age of 13. It was a way for us to spend time together between her bouts of Chemo. I'm writing romance now, not only because I love it, but I am doing it for her.

Kelley said...

Des- Wow! Another late romance lover like me.


Stacy~ I love what you said romance brings to your life. You deserve the best so never settle!


Amy- I'm sure your Nanny is so proud of you. What a great thing! You found her love of romance books.

ChristyJan said...

Fun post.

I started reading romance novels when I was in my teens. Then I skipped a few years and didn't start again until my late 20's after my 2nd child was born.

Kristen Painter said...

I never really had that "iffy" feeling about romance. I just devoured books of all genres. Medieval and Scottish historicals were like Hershey kisses to me - I couldn't have just one.

But it was a Johanna Lindsey that really got me thinking, "Hey, I wonder if I could write one of these..."

I still reread that book once a year.

Kelley said...

Christyjan-

What made you stop for a few years?


Kristen- I always liked to read I just didn't give romances a chance. I don't know what I was thinking, LOL.

Emily Wade-Reid said...

Hi Kelley...

I've been reading romance novels since the beginning of time; or at least it seems like it. Of course, I'm an old person.

I started out reading Georgette Heyer, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt and the all-time favorite at the time, Barbara Cartland. Then I moved into Harlequin, and Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsey, and Catherine Coulter; mostly historical and regency romances.

But then, I'm an avid voracious reader. I was also into Agatha Christie and some of the older mystery writers. I still have a full collection of Agatha Christie and Barbara Cartland books. I'm a die-hard reader and very seldom get rid of books I like.

So yeah, I started reading romance right around the stone age.

Anywho...

I like your site.

I think I'm logged in as Emily Wade-Reid, but you know this is Marie, sometimes known as bouzwha, NiquiBri, or Bouzie. I really need to get an identity, lol.

Bou

Betty said...

Kelley,

Oh, the memories! I was a pre-teen of 10 or 11 when the girl across the street from me gave me some Nurse storyline HQNs. These were sweet before the term was even thought of and I just devoured them (I've always been a voracious reader). The one author that has stuck out in my mind over all these years (let's just say I'm as old as dirt) is Patricia Matthews.

In addition to the medical line of HQNs I fell in love with pirates and Scottish Lairds. I don't really care for the medicals much these days, but my pirates and scots can share my bed any time *grin*

What does reading romance bring to my life? It's an adventure where I can go anywhere in the world or any time period. I can learn new tips about loving my own man and teach him a few, too LOL It's gotten me through my depression after having cancer (cancer free 10 years this past april). It keeps me company when it's dark and I'm alone. It makes me laugh :) And cry :*( But in the end, my expectations are fulfilled and I'm ready for a new bar of chocolate and a new book.

Betty

Kelley said...

I'm so enjoying everyone's answers! Its so fun to read about when people first started reading or hear about all the times in our lives that romance has helped us through.

Betty- I loved reading your answers. Congrats on being cancer free!!

aBookworm said...

Congrats RR! I sneaked my first romance book off my mom's bedside table and I was hooked and remain hooked to date. Talk about everlasting ;-)

robynl said...

I was a late bloomer of romance books just like you. They were never in our home and I didn't start until I was married.

Stacy Dawn said...

LOL great post and cool new place!

Jodi said...

I didn't start reading romance books until about 8 years ago. (wow, I didn't realize that it's been so long! Now I know why I have so many books! LOL) I too got started because I was lonely. I had moved back to my "hometown" but all of my friends had left. I got bored one day and started searching the internet. Somehow, I found the eHarlequin site and Lori Foster had an online read. I was instantly hooked! I went on a mission to find all of her books, and as they say, the rest is history!

Kelley said...

Thanks everyone!!! I drew a name and the winner is....Stacy~! Email me at kelley @ kelley vitollo . com with your mailing addy.

Stacy~ said...

Wow, thanx Kelley!

Amy S. said...

I started reading romance books at 13. I've been hooked ever since. I always read romance books but my favorite genres have changed some.