Celebrating Read a Romance Month

gI_77192_read-a-romance-logoConsidering the fact that I’ve been reading romance novels for thirty years and currently make my living writing them, for me, every month is read a romance month. But thankfully, Bobbi Dumas has put her brilliance and imagination into making August the official Read a Romance Month celebration. Something that was sorely needed and long overdue.

I’ve been fortunate to participate in the festivities for the past two years and thanks to romance super-reader Lorelei’s Lit Lair, I’m getting the chance to once again bring attention to this amazing genre that does so much for so many.

McNaughtIt is absolutely no exaggeration for me to say that reading romance novels has kept me sane. Judith McNaught almost single-handedly got me through high school. Kathleen Woodiwiss, Julie Garwood, and LaVyrle Spencer took me through college and beyond. Dorothy Garlock, Johanna Lindsay, Jo Beverley, and Mary Balogh were there when I was trying to figure out how to be an adult. (Something I have yet to master.)

EloisaI couldn’t possibly name every author I’ve read, but Nora Roberts, Eloisa James, Shirlee Busbee, Lisa Kleypas, Mary Jo Putney, Mary Spencer, and Elizabeth Lowell deserve to be mentioned. In fact, Eloisa isn’t just an author I’ve adored, but she’s also somewhat responsible for my current career. Back in 2006, Eloisa ran a bulletin board for her fans that introduced me to an amazing group of women, many of whom are still my friends today. And a number of participants on that board are also published authors.

This might be the most important bonus to being a romance reader. We don’t just sit in our cozy corners turning pages and finding solace in the happy endings. Being a romance reader means you’re part of a generous, supportive, and very special community. A sisterhood that happens to include a small but mighty group of male readers as well.

Contrary to public opinion, romance novels are not formulaic stories that are all the same and include nothing more than sex and sappy declarations of love that no one would ever say in real life. These books are about family, growing up, facing faults, healing old wounds, seeking forgiveness, and learning to be a better person.sweet couple

Yes, there is also a love story, but it’s never simple or trite or easily dismissed. Sometimes there is sex on the page, sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes there is religion on the page, and sometimes there isn’t. But without fail there is always love.

And goodness knows this world could use a lot more love.

I would love to hear what draws you to the genre? Is it the fantasy or the more realistic elements? Do you want to read about people who could be in your life, or characters you would never want to encounter on the street? Have you found your little corner of the community or are you sitting there wondering what in the world I’m talking about? (If your answer is the latter, I will happily introduce you to the fabulous world of Romancelandia.

Don’t forget to visit the Read a Romance Month website all month long to read similar essays from an amazing array of the top authors in the genre. It’s like a daily shot of validation, positivity, and genuine appreciation of the most-underrated and misunderstood genre of literature. And especially check out Lorelei’s (of Lorelei’s Lit Lair) post for an essay from the reader’s perspective.

6 thoughts on “Celebrating Read a Romance Month”

  1. Mary M. says:

    The HEA draws me to the genre, both the real and fantastical elements. I tend to live in the Regency and Steampunk communities of Romancelandia but travel to other corners of the world quite readily.

  2. Diana Tidlund says:

    more realistic elements that draw me definitely!

  3. Bonae says:

    your list of favorite authors was very similar to my own. I love characters that I would enjoy knowing. Give me an engaging plot with characters who share romantic chemistry and I don’t care if it’s a mystery, science fi, contemporary or period romance. I do have one requirement that my favorite authors all deliver: a happy ending!

  4. Sue G. says:

    For me it is all about the happy ending. I like to feel good when I finish a story. I like to read all types of romance, it makes things more interesting.

  5. Terri says:

    Sorry for the late response. I’ve been away from my computer almost all day.

    Thank you all for visiting. Looks like the happy ending has the votes! We get enough of things NOT turning out happy in real life. When I sit down with a book, I want a reason to smile at the end. But you’re also onto something, Diana. Realistic elements are a must. I write characters that feel like they could be my friends because that’s the kind of people I know. If I ever have to write a jet-setting billionaire, I’ll do my best, but it’s going to be much harder for me to make him sound real.

  6. donnas says:

    Its really all of the above. If I want to escape more its paranormal. If I want RL but with the HEA to give me hope for my own its contemporary. And thats just two examples.

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