Sunday, August 8, 2010

Romance Matters: for the reader and the writer

Janet here. When an acquaintance learns I’m a writer, she often assumes I pen children’s books, perhaps because I taught first grade. When I say I write inspirational historical romances I’ve gotten that look, then a flimsy smile. “Oh, you write those little books.”

I don’t think she’s referring to the size.

I hate to say this, but at one time I might have reacted the same way. Until a friend loaned me a LaVyrle Spencer novel, my very first romance, and I was hooked.

Romance novels matter to those who read them.
· I know because I’m a reader. A happy ending doesn’t make the story fluff, it makes it satisfying. Romance novels are as varied as their authors. Romances are emotion-packed, humor-laced and fast-paced and often deal with difficult issues readers face daily.

· Romance may not be literary or make Oprah’s book club but bottom line, they sell. Readers don’t put out hard cash over and over again without getting a return. The following stats are from the Romance Writers of America Web site:
Romance fiction: $1.37 billion in estimated revenue for 2008
Religion/inspirational: $800 million
Mystery: $668 million
Science fiction/fantasy: $551 million
Classic literary fiction: $446 million

· Readers say romance novels matter. Fan mail indicates romance novels uplift and entertain, even edify. I’ve been blessed to have readers tell me my books helped resolve a spiritual struggle, got them through a hospitalization or long hours caring for a chronically ill loved one.

Romance novels matter to those who write them.
Through writing the books I love to read, God has given me:
· Stimulating work. I get to create people.
· A release for my creativity.
· New friends, both writers and readers.
· A sense of who I am.
· Direction for my life.

Through writing, God is teaching me to persevere.
Our God-given talent may be raw and need simmering with practice but we dare not waste it. It may be tied to God’s purpose for our lives.

Through writing, God is teaching me to control my emotions.
The ups and downs of publishing can keep writers reeling. Writers must accept change and go with the punches. Rejections, less than stellar reviews, so-so sale figures can take writers from a place of gratitude to jealousy and even worry. Each day before I write, I pray God will give me the calmness, wisdom and ability to write the book He wants me to write and someone to read.

Through writing, God is teaching me to leave the outcome with Him.
Other than the words we put on the page and our efforts to promote, we can do little to control our success. All we can do is write the best books we know how. No small achievement.

I like to think that each of us is the hero of our story. The chapters, turning points and black moments aren’t always, or even often, under our control. Sometimes circumstances sock us hard. Or lift us up. Or flip us inside out. Sometimes we make a mess of it. Whatever we’re going through, it’s such a blessing to know we are not the final Author. God is editing our story as He hears and answers our prayers. Whatever the outcome of our situation, when our names are written in the Book of Life, we’re guaranteed Happily Ever After.

The way I like to end my books.

I’m giving away to one winner a copy of all three of my released books: The Substitute Bride, Courting the Doctor’s Daughter and Courting Miss Adelaide.
To enter, leave a comment about the reactions you’ve gotten to your romance writing. Or your perspective on the life of a writer. Or why you love to read or write romance novels.


Teresa said...

That's a wonderful lesson you mention...using your writing journey as a tool to help manage your emotions. I am a people pleaser, and I wear my heart on my sleeve. Needless to say, rejection hits me HARD. I have just written my first YA novel and am getting my toes wet in the publishing pool. It's terrifying. I pray God strengthens me for the ups and the downs.

Vince said...

Hi Janet:

I enjoyed your post and it seems so apropos to what I posted today on the Medical Authors' blog.

I have the below tag line on all my eHarlequin posts:

"Romances are the emotional vitamins of the soul."

I believe the human body uses the same ‘neural-chemical’ pathways to experience both ‘real’ and ‘vicarious’ emotions.

I also I believe that it is important for each human to obtain their ‘daily minimum requirement’ of these essential emotional vitamins in order to remain healthy. (Emotional vitamins include: feelings of being needed, loved, cherished, appreciated, desired, happy, sensuous, and so on.)

Since well written romances, especially ‘keepers’, provide these strong emotional experiences, I consider reading romances to be both health-affirming and good for society.

And romance authors? They are the “Doctors of emotional well being.”

BTW: It would be hard to be more inspirational than you were in “The Substitute Bride”! The perfect ending, IMHO.


P.S. I have all your books twice: once in print and once as eBooks.

Kidzaplenty said...

Oh, I just LOVE to read romance novels. They really are uplifting. When I am needing a "warm and fuzzy" day or just time to unwind, I can curl up with a good book and forget about the responsibilities of raising ten children for just a little while.

I especially love Christian romance where the heroine and hero have solid relationships with God and bring it into the story without being "preachy".

I began writing my own books when I could not find the "right" books for me. I love medieval times stories, with Knights and Ladies, but I have found very few Christian ones that are not "fantasy". So, I decided to write them myself.

I still love to read. I devour romance books. And I don't think I could keep my sanity in an house full of children without them!

Amber S. said...

I love this post! Thank you so much, Janet, for your encouraging words. :) I especially love the last part about being guaranteed a "Happily Ever After" in the Lord--because it's true! We have every reason to rejoice as Christians because we have an amazing hope in God.

That is a wonderful aspect of romance books, as well. They're hopeful, and they remind us that even through the hard times in life there's still a future to consider.

I suppose some would consider romance novels to be unrealistic, and in some ways I can see why. But I really believe that Christian romance serves as a reminder that God has so many blessings in store for us, and that no matter what He has planned for us, we should indeed be hopeful because He knows what's best. And Christian romance novels also remind us of the value of relationships and what they really need to be formed and to last. Many of the Christian fiction books I read encourage me, and I hope that if it's the Lord's will He might use me to share stories with others that will encourage and inspire them, as well.

Thank you again for this post! God bless!



P.S. I have lots of cake to share as today was the party for both my mom's and my dad's birthdays! My mom made my dad a red velvet cake with homemade butter cream frosting, and my grandma made my mom a "Texas cake"--her ever-so-delicious and rich chocolate cake with homemade chocolate frosting!!! So dig in and help yourself to some coffee and ice cream, too! :)

Janet Dean said...

Good morning Seekerville! I've brought coffee, Lady Gray tea, egg bake with ham, golden biscuits and fresh fruit for breakfast. Dig in!


Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Janet, that was so beautiful and really struck a chord. Thank you.

I'll take a cup of java please.

What's Lady Gray? Wife of Earl?

Janet Dean said...

Congratulations, Teresa, on taking the plunge, even if its only with your toes. :-) You're right, seeking publication is scary. For most of us, rejection is part of the process. Keeping expectations low and time in prayer high helps.


April W Gardner said...

At my editor's polite suggestions, I recently did a re-write on Wounded Spirits, my first novel releasing this november. Basically, I transformed it from historical to historical romance. And boy am I glad I did. What an improvement! 1. It really tugs on the heart now, so readers bond in a much deeper way. 2. It'll sell better!!
I used to be fearful of writing romance---What will people THINK of me?!
But not anymore. Romance is a vital part of our who God created us to be, so why not of our writing too?
Thanks for this post.
aprilmarieg (at) gmail (dot) com

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Vince! Excellent observation that "Romances are the emotional vitamins of the soul." and we romance writers are the “Doctors of emotional well being.” Love the image of a romance novel a day keeping the doctor away. I'm sure your post was a huge hit on the Medical Authors' blog!

I'm honored you've read my books twice. Thank you.


Julie Hilton Steele said...

No need to put me in the drawing since you have been an autobuy for me but this is too good a discussion not to get in on.

I started reading romance, after years of mainly reading theology, non-fiction biographical books and other serious stuff, because my mother died unexpectedly. I had had bad experiences with Cold Mountain and My Sister's keeper and realized I needed HEAs and where could I get them? One of the most enjoyable decisions of my life.

I read them for the fun, the inspiration, the thrill depending on the book. There was a study that showed that romance readers are not reading to find romance, they often have the most solid marriages. I believe it since today is our 30th anniversary. I have my very own hero.

Here, I don't have food but do have a lovely bouquet of anniversary flowers to use as a centerpiece.

Peace and continued happy writing,


Janet Dean said...

Hi Kidzaplenty. You're not joking with ten children in the house. Romance novels are better than Calgon for taking me away. :-)

Congrats on writing Medievals! I respect all the research you must have to do.


Janet Dean said...

Amber, your words are an encouragement to me too! Where would we be without hope in the Lord? And in our relationships with others? Thanks for sharing! I'm hoping you see your dream come true!


Janet Dean said...

Amber, Thanks for bringing the yummy cakes! Red velvet and chocolate are my favorites!! Happy birthday to your folks.


Janet Dean said...

Thanks Tina. I learned about Lady Gray tea at Epcot in April. Two Grays to choose from. :-) Undoubtedly they're married or at least madly in love. :-)


Janet Dean said...

April, Congratulations on your November release, Wounded Spirits! Aren't we grateful to our editors for their savvy suggestions that improve our stories? Wishing you all the best with sales.


Janet Dean said...

Julie, amen! Who needs depressing books when we have the news? Harlequin reports 63% of their romance readers are married and 70%have some college. Interesting stats.

Congratulations to you and your hero on your 30th anniversary! The flowers are gorgeous.


Kirsten Arnold said...

Hi Janet,

Your post really struck a chord with me. I love romances, especially inspirationals. Often times I walk away having learned a valuable lesson by identifying with one of the characters or the struggles they face, and how they overcome their battles.

When I told my family I was going to write my brother’s first question was “What are you writing?”
My dad responded, “Romances of course,” and he was thrilled. Granted my dad doesn’t reach for Julie Garwood or sadly Julie Lessman books, but it’s a great encouragement that he realized that is where my heart lies and that’s what God’s calling me to write.
I hesitated to tell a couple of my closest friends. I thought they'd think I was crazy. I'm a historian, I'm supposed to right serious histories. But they were thrilled, as well. It’s funny how God confirmed His plan by having those individuals I believed would be the biggest skeptics they are my biggest cheerleaders.

Thanks for the post!


Jill said...

What a wonderful post Janet. I read it over three times. It was uplifting and encouraging. We should never be ashamed or embarrassed doing something that God has put into our heart to do. With all of the negativity, violence and bad news we are bombarded with on a daily basis, it's nice to escape into another world where there is hope and love. Thanks for starting my day in a positive direction.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Kirsten,

God has blessed you with affirmation for writing romance from family and friends. History and romance are a terrific combination!


Janet Dean said...

Jill, thanks for your encouraging words! God bless your day and your writing!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Janet, this really struck home with me too. I like the 'circumstances flip you inside out' line especially well, LOL!

Thank you so much for this, it's reflective of so many mixed feelings and downright good reasoning.

And I'm digging into the cake, Amber-Schmamber, the Texas sheet cake is to die for, tell Grandmoms GOOD JOB! and I'm snagging more coffee, imagining Earl and his Lady on an Austen-type walk.

Earl looks strangely like Colin Firth.

Oh, yum.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Janet, What a delicious post. And I so agree with Vince that romance is wonderful for the soul.

RWA site has great statistics about romance that are always fun to read. Most romance readers have healthy marriages and relationships.

I think the big appeal to romance for me is LOVE. And isn't that what God is? We all need love in our lives.

What a pleasure and gift to be able to write about it, both human love and God's love.

Thanks for the coffee and Amber, the cakes are yummy. Happy Birthday to your parents and thank them for sharing.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Janet! Good points. God invented romance, and he uses it to help us understand how he feels about us. Remember the Bible verses about the church as the bride and Jesus the bridegroom?

Romance is good. We can mess it up and make it unholy, but God intended it to be holy, I believe.

KC Frantzen said...

Good morning all!

GREAT points made all around.

I'm enjoying the reactions to the idea that people assumed you're writing children's books, then find out it's romance.


When I tell people I'm writing children's many look at me like I have 2 heads - probably because most DON'T know in my adopted hometown that I have a degree and taught. :)

Too funny.

It's made me think about judging books by their covers. So easy to do isn't it?

Y'all have truly opened my eyes on "romance" and it's been a blessing.

I came here first, because y'all were writers. And that has made all the difference.

ok - that and the food. (OMGosh - yes on that "Texas" choco cake... I have a fabulous recipe of my Mom's - who is a 4th generation Texan by the way... MM MMMMM GOOD - and easy)

Everyone, have a blessed day!

KC Frantzen said...

and on the Greys...

yes! SURELY they ARE madly in love... :)

Pepper Basham said...

Good morning, Janet - and great post. What an encouraging reminder of why we write those 'little' (or if we're talking about Julie - those not so little) books :-)

LOOOOVE the quote. Gotta take my vitamins ;-)
Grabbing a piece of cake on the run. EVERYBODY started school today. I'm hoping for a happy ending to my kindergartener's first day ;-)

Cara Lynn James said...

Good morning!

Sometimes I like to read literary fiction, but if it leaves me kinda down, I'll pick up a romance. It's good to know there's a HEA! Unhappy books make me think of the bad news you hear every day in newspapers and TV. It's great to be uplifted!

Julie Lessman said...

Janet -- beautiful post today, my friend, and SO very true!!

I am ashamed to say that I used to be one of those "romance snobs" that you alluded to in the first paragraph -- a professional woman who saw "romance" novels as the poor stepchild to "real" books like the classics, literary fiction or women's fiction. Boy, did I have my head in the sand, but fortunately for me, God pulled it out and opened my eyes to the true gift that romance is in our lives, ESPECIALLY romance with Him, the true Author of Romance!

In fact, after reading the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, which shows how God is “relational to the core” and has “a heart for romance,” I now not only see "romance" as one of the most important things to God, BUT writing Christian romance as a high calling.

So now when people ask what I write, I proudly say Inspirational Family-Saga Historical Romance, and usually they blink and say "What?" I think all the extra words may confuse them enough not to wrinkle their nose in distaste like I once did. :)

You said: I like to think that each of us is the hero of our story. The chapters, turning points and black moments aren’t always, or even often, under our control ... whatever we’re going through, it’s such a blessing to know we are not the final Author.

Amen and amen!!


Linda Glaz said...

Romance novels touch a woman's heart the way a day paintballing or hunting touches a man's. We're different creatures that need a way to escape now and then and pretend the economy isn't tanking, the world isn't cruel, and that the foreclosure sign won't find it's way to our lawn. I'm sure that's why sales continue even though the economy is bad and people are discouraged. All of you writers, no matter what you write, keep it up. Someday, somewhere, someone will recognize your hard work and you might find yourself doing the next book giveaway. Persevere!

Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, I have "inside out days" now and again. And I'm not talking t-shirts. :-)

Gina Welborn said...

Romance is good. We can mess it up and make it unholy, but God intended it to be holy, I believe.

Oh my, Melanie! You hit this on the head from so many different perspectives.

Society tells us one thing about romance. Sexy is ______.

Hardee's hamburger commericals that focus on sex to sell hamburgers. Women's magazines that focus on sex to sell anything.

So as women, how much do we buy into what the world says is sexy?

My pastor-husband says what parents do in moderation, children do in excess.

As moms, we have to consider everything we do, say, wear, dress, read, etc, influences what our daughters believe. I bet for ever 10 minutes we stand in front of a mirror, our teenage daughters spend double. Why? Well, if my mom who I think is beautiful is constantly dieting, constantly complaining about her weight, then there must be somethign wrong with me too.

Remember the ol' What Would Jesus do? bracelets.

For me, that's often too big a guideline/standard.

As writer who is a mom, I've found a new standard is "Would I find this sexy if this romance hero were doing this to my daughter?"

Granted, I think of my daughter as a young woman, not a girl 12 or 7 or 3.

There's a lot I used to find sexy until I started applying the actions to a man dating my daughter. Especially a Christian man.

While I do have a stack of Mary books I haven't read yet, my current favorite romance hero is JT in Karen Witemeyer's TAILOR-MADE BRIDE.

Even when his physical feelings were a struggle at times, he still chose to honor God and the heroine.

Janet Dean said...

Sandra, You're so right. We're blessed to write inspirational romance, stories of both human and God's love!


Janet Dean said...

Hi there, Melanie. God made Eve, knowing Adam needed a companion. I'm sure thankful for mine!


Janet Dean said...

KC, we do judge books by their covers. One way to decide to buy or pass by, but judging people by their outward appearance is a definite no-no. Sadly we do it too often.

The Earl and his lady are enjoying their Seekerville appearance. :-)


Janet Dean said...

Pepper, best wishes for your kids' first day of school, especially your kindergartener!


Janet Dean said...

I'm with you, Cara! Happy ever after is my cup of tea. And that's not gray. LOL


Edwina said...


One comment I received that really surprised me - "YOU aren't going to write romance novels, are you?" I couldn't decide if she thought I wasn't good enough - or if I was too good. Either way - she was wrong.

I would love to read your books!


Janet Dean said...

Love this Julie! Confuse them with words, as only a writer can do. "So now when people ask what I write, I proudly say Inspirational Family-Saga Historical Romance, and usually they blink and say "What?" I think all the extra words may confuse them enough not to wrinkle their nose in distaste like I once did. :)"


Janet Dean said...

Thanks, Linda, for your words of wisdom and encouragement!!


Janet Dean said...

Gina said: There's a lot I used to find sexy until I started applying the actions to a man dating my daughter. Especially a Christian man.

Wow, this hit me between the eyes! Excellent point, Gina!

I've been wanting to read Tailor-Made Bride since I saw Karen at the FHL meeting in Orlando. Sounds like a great book!


Linda said...

I used to only read mysteries. Now I love a well-written romance. There are many out there that teach God's truths, just like Jesus' stories in the Bible. Please enter me. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Janet Dean said...

You said it, Edwina! Either way, she was wrong! Glad you weren't scrambled by her comment.

Thanks for your interest in my books!


Janet Dean said...

Linda, your point is important. We need to write the best romance we can. After all we're writing for God. Glad you've included romances in your reading diet!


Kym McNabney said...

Life as a writer, for me anyway, is a deeply involved commitment to my computer. I spend maybe hours at my desk writing, connecting with authors, and potential future readers. Basically getting my name out there as an unpublished author. Unpublished in fictions that is. I love to create a story, and I have sixteen pages of story ideas to prove it. My mind is always thinking of turning a spark of an idea into a story. Always analyzing movies, music, and writing from my writer’s perspective.

I love to read because it takes me to places I may never go. Not physical places but emotional ones with others I may never experience except in written form. Reading gives me ideas, makes me grow as a person in many ways including spiritually, emotionally, empathetically.

Why romance? As the Bible says, and the greatest of these is…love! It’s such a powerful emotion we all need to have fulfilled, and fictional romance is a great way to do so.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Good morning, ladies! Wonderful way to start the week!

What I love about reading and writing inspirational romance is the underlying lift to the spirit. It's a pick-me-up and an escape to a wonderful other place, where no matter what problems the characters are facing, you know it's going to turn out great in the end. And that gives us hope for our own lives.

Who could want more than that?!

Thanks for the cake, Amber. I will be picking up an ice cream cake later for my daughter because it's her 17th birthday today. She was born on a Monday, too! Making home-made lasagna and Caesar salad for dinner and she's having her 3 best friends over.

Enjoying a moment of calm before then!

I've read your first book, Janet, but not the others! Somehow I missed them. Love to be in the draw!

sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Janet, wonderful thoughts! Both the author and the reader are blessed in the process. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! I HAVE to respond to this, b/c (confession time) I have lately been thinking, you know, maybe nonfiction is my area. I never wanted to write fiction, but leading workshops through The Artist's Way several times produced my first novel. Well....a few years later, what I'm writing is SO MUCH better, but sometimes I get down and out about it and think....hum, maybe I'm more of a 'natural' at nonfiction.

So, Janet, let me say your tie-ins of our writing to God's purpose "hit the spot" with me today. Thanks so much.

Food? I have some luscious bing cherries to share...

Gail Kittleson

Janet Dean said...

Kym, I love it when people agree with me! And do it so eloquently! Thanks! All the best with your writing.


Mary Connealy said...

Wow, Janet. That's such a nice post.

The thing someone said to me once that popped into my head....

I went to a writer's gathering, searching for a writer's group close to was still a long drive.

I got there and everyone there was mostly writing oh...essays and poetry, that kind of thing. Nothing wrong with that, very LITERARY, but not really my crowd.

So we went around to introduce ourselves, it was a very FORMED group so I was the outsider, the new guy.

When I introduced myself I said, "I write romance novels and I just signed a contract that will take me up to 19 books."

This guy who had his laptop open and because he was set up on a table was facing away from me. He couldn't be bothered to TURN AROUND while I said who I was.

He said, still staring at his laptop, "Yeah, I've heard they let romance novels each write about twenty books."

I did him the huge favor of NOT going for his throat. When you think of how hard we all work to get published and here's this little PUNK writing short sci-fi stories.

Yeah, I was next in the phone book so they're letting me write nineteen books, but GEE THANKS now I can hope to sell one more!
(I didn't say that out loud)

I listened while one lady talked about her terrible marriages and how she has to write ugly, abuse riddled poetry to deal with her feelings.

I told her if she wanted to sell she probably oughta lighten up.

All in all, I didn't fit with the generally pessimistic, artistic tone of the place.

One person there actually acted impressed and interested. Bless her heart!!!!

Janet Dean said...

Susan, happy birthday to your daughter! You're planning a lovely day for her with great food, friends and family. I'm sure she knows she's blessed.

Hope, an anchor in the storms of life.


Mary Connealy said...

I didn't go back.

Janet Dean said...

Hey, Carrie! Thanks for stopping!


Janet Dean said...

Gail, thanks for your kind words! Your bing cherries hit the spot too!


Janet Dean said...

Mary, ouch! You've met the put downs and survived! Proud of you! And of all those contracts!


Missy Tippens said...

Janet, so true!! Romance novels do matter to me as both a reader and a writer.

I think what God has shown me most is that we should never give up on our dreams. Persistence is so important.

I've had some very touching letters from readers. They mean so much. But another thing that meant a lot to me was a school project my son did in about 3rd grade. He had to do a poster about someone he admires. He did his poster on me! He said on there that I worked really hard for a long time to achieve my dream. And included a photo of my very first book cover (a short story I sold to BelleBooks included in Blessings of Mossy Creek).

Missy Tippens said...

Julie S, happy anniversary!!! Wow, 30 is fantastic!

Jan Cline said...

I can so relate to each of your points. And I usually get a blank stare when I tell them I write inspirational historical romance. Not sure why that is. I like reading it too, and I know it's a popular market. I think some might be afraid that the term inspirational romance is somewhat of a oxymoron.
Great post. Thank you.

Kav said...

Oh I'm jumping up and down and shouting 'amen'to everything that's been said!!! Why can't you all live in my hometown? We'd have the best book club evenings with real food!!!!

I'll admit I read romance for the happily ever after mainly because I lived through an unhappily ever. It's my form of bibliotherapy. :-) But I'm looking for so much more when I pick up a book. It has to be well written, I need to engage with the characters, the plot has to be interesting, the author has to tug at my emotions. Reading a romance (or any book for that matter) is an experience I want to savor.

Since I discovered inspirational romances I've read little else and each time I open a book I am astounded by the emotional journey the writer takes me on. I can honestly say that I have grown both spiritually and emotionally from reading inspirational fiction. There are life lessons inside the pages of these books that have touched me deeply and I say God bless all you authors for writing them!

I don't have a single friend who reads romance (sniffle). I've had the debates, been pretty much ridiculed for my reading choices. It got pretty bad -- especially because I have a lot of librarian friends and the standard greeting for us -- "What are you reading?" -- always opens up the 'debate'.

I remember being at a restaurant once -- there were about ten of us and I was floored by the militant anti'romance' chatter aimed in my direction. It got pretty heated and I'd finally had enough so I challenged them to name one literary classic that did not involve a romance. They couldn't. Then I asked them to name a movie they'd recently seen that didn't involve romance. They couldn't. Then I targeted the tv shows they watch and asked them what kept them watching? Duh, the romance.

I rest my case.

KC Frantzen said...

a LEETLE off topic but ran across this...

we were talking about research not long ago and y'all were cracking me up about the way you were finding out information.

just ran across this (in case you need to know...) HA!

these type things catch my eye as well, since i have a little K9 spy to write.

hope it helps!

Anonymous said...

I would love to read your please enter me. I love this type reading as it is relaxing, interesting, and I can totally get into it! Thanks!!!

Erica Vetsch said...

I have gotten some looks and comments, especially when I tell people I write category romance for a book club.

The comments usually hit on the bodice-ripper trashy romance generalization, or the 'if it's inspirational/Christian fiction, it can't be any good.'

Myra Johnson said...

Wow, I have been away from Seekerville entirely too long! First RWA and then a few days "doin' the Disney thing." Finally getting back in the groove at home and trying to catch up on all I missed.

Like THAT's gonna happen!

Wonderful post, Janet! Romances are here to stay, of that I'm certain! Don't remember now which commenter mentioned this, but it's so true--it's hard to find any movie, TV show, or novel where there isn't at least some level of romantic subplot. And character relationships are at the heart of any good story, IMHO. Even the thrillers and shoot-'em-ups.

Tracy Krauss said...

Your post was very encouraging - especially when you listed your reasons for writing. When God calls us to something, no matter what it is, we are happiest (and most productive) when we heed the call and do what we're supposed to be doing. Even if it's a romance writer!

Project Journal said...

Oh man, Janet! Why do I like to read romance??? Hmmmm...let's see!

- That warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you know there'll be a 'Happily Ever After'
- The prospect of the future and finding my own 'Happily Ever After' ending!
- The pure and unending love that is felt from the characters of the LI books is genuinely addicting! LOl!
- Similar to my second point, an easy and relaxing way to escape the hardships of daily life!

GREAT post, Janet!! Always enjoy your writing on here and in books!

Hope your day is going well!
Talk to you later,

Sarah Forgrave said...

Wonderful thoughts, Janet! I find it most awkward to tell men what I write (even though there are a small % of men who read romance). When my doctor asked me one time, I bumbled around with it. I should have just said, "I write books your wife would love to read." :-)

Please enter me in the drawing!
forgravebooks at gmail dot com

Rosie said...

I agree whole-heartedly with your comments on romance being fulfilling. I believe that's because God made love and relationships an innate part of human nature. But because relationships can often be difficult, reading the stories about happy endings is helpful and satisfying. Reading the stats on the different genre got my attention. I've loved inspirational fiction for about 5 years now, since my daughter introduced me to Dee Henderson's O'Malley series. Three years ago I started writing and although I hope to publish, just thinking through the plots, characters and writing about my own faith is enough.

Seekerville is a great help to me. I've learned much from the articles and know there will be more writing help available to me. Thanks.

Rosie Baldwin

Mary Connealy said...

I just love happily ever after. I need that.

I feel betrayed if I don't get it.

I can put up with almost any twist and turn and any genre, as long as love conquers all.

Uh....I dont' understand vampire books.

I really must read one someday, and yet....I never do.

Clearly they've found a way to have happily ever after with a dead guy (or girl) but I'm not seeing it.

Amber S. said...

Thank you, Janet, for your kind words, and I'm so glad everyone is enjoying the cake! (If you haven't had a piece of both yet, be sure you do! They're both super delicious!)

And Hannah, I love your reasons for reading romance! ;)


Janet Dean said...

Missy, you modeled persistance to your son through your writing. No validation could be sweeter than a child proud of his mom. Thanks for sharing!


Janet Dean said...

Jan, I hadn't thought that a reader might see inspirational romances as an oxymoron, but it makes sense. We need to think of these reactions as opportunities to open a whole new world of fiction they can explore.


Janet Dean said...

Kav, sign me up! We'd have a great time chatting inspirational romance, sharing what the books taught us and some chocolate.

I'm impressed how you cleverly shut down the romance naysayers in your group! Have you considered taking up law? :-)


Janet Dean said...

Interesting KC! I'm sure Debby will want to take a look at this. Hope the K9 spy story is going well.


Janet Dean said...

Jackie, thanks for your interest in my books! And for leaving your e-mail address. You're entered.


Janet Dean said...

That just makes me mad, Erica! I'm amazed people bash what an author works so hard to achieve! As if editors hand out contracts like candy! I'm guessing these people haven't read an inspirational.

I remember a review of Courting Miss Adelaide from someone who said right off that she never read those little books, much less an inspirational but the cover drew her in. She went on to compliment the story. I treasured that review because a non-inspy reader gave an romance a try and who knows, maybe read more.


Anita Mae Draper said...

Oh, that's a good tag line, Vince.

Janet, your posts are as inspiring as your books. I felt like this one was meant specifically for me.

In the last few months several people have asked what I write. My stock answer is "romance novels". (Yes, I know theoretically a romance is a novel but it's habitual.) It used to be that I could see judgment on their faces. Now, it seems they just say, "Oh? What type?" And then I get to elaborate on the historial and inspy aspects. I always end by stressing the satisfaction of a happily ever after.

Romances have received some good publicity lately because of financial success. I'm not sure if that's what's changing the public's opinion about them. Or, if it's the breakout of inspirationals. Or, if it's the sheer number of people now writing them. Whatever the reason, reactions to my choice of career have changed for the better.

Anita Mae.

Janet Dean said...

Great to have you back, Myra! You said romances are here to stay. I so agree. We like the HEA endings!

Think of Gone With the Wind. The lack of a HEA ending drove me wacko. I wanted Scarlet and Rhett together. In my head they were, even without the sequel Scarlet.


Janet Dean said...

I agree, Tracy. Isn't it cool how God calls us to what we love to do? I'm sooooo glad he didn't call me to accounting. LOL


Janet Dean said...

Thanks for sharing specifics of how romance is important to you, Hannah. You're a blessing! Hope your day is going well too!


Kathleen Rouser said...

Hi Janet,

Thanks for sharing your heart. Several years ago, when I would take an hour in the evening to read, while my husband was recovering from a terrible accident, it was the little vacation I needed. Though they dealt with real life issues, the books also had happy, satisfying endings and contained of all things--romance. It convinced me to return to fiction writing, knowing it could truly be a blessing to others. Though I've expected a more negative reaction when I talk about writing inspirational romance, I have been surprised how
supportive and interested the women I have talked
to have been. The readers are out there and they're looking for clean, edifying books to read--that is for sure.

Janet Dean said...

Sarah, Next time the subject comes around you'll be ready. Then suggest he buy one.


Janet Dean said...

Rosie, you're wise to enjoy the process while you grow your writing talent. Nothing makes Seekers happier than knowing our posts help fellow writers. Thanks for sharing!


Janet Dean said...

Vampires can only live happily ever after with their true love if they're able to keep their fangs to themselves. I'm sure it's possible, Mare. Ah, Missy, do you know? LOL


Janet Dean said...

I'm not whining here, Amber, but as soon as you brought the cakes, no one took a single bite of my egg bake. I slaved over that thing too.


Janet Dean said...

Yay, Anita Mae! Glad you're seeing more positive feedback! Romance novels and inspirational romances in particular are money makers. As you say, people respect that especially now.


Janet Dean said...

Hi Kathleen. Nice to hear you found romances when you needed the stories most! And that you're getting positive reaction to your romance writing.

As the trend in some secular romance lines moves toward hotter, more readers and writers may be drawn to inspirationals.


Amber S. said...

Oh, Janet, I'm sorry! :( That was very nice of you to cook for Seekerville, and then I went and ruined it. I guess we're a bunch of "life-is-short-eat-dessert-first" sort of people around here. ;)

Hope you enjoyed the cake anyway!


Angela Bell said...

Great post! :-)


connie said...

I was a romance snob. When I was about thirty, my husband had went to the library and brought home a romance for me. I told him I don't read "those" kind of books. Actually, I did read any kind of book. But I read the historical romance and was hooked. Have been reading ever since.

Please enter me into the drawing.
bcountryqueen6 at msn dot com

connie said...

Whoops. That should've been, "I didn't read any kind of book."

Janet Dean said...

Loved both cakes, Amber! I'm handling the pain of egg bake rejection. Lots of practice with my manuscripts. :-)

Hugs, Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Angela! You're in the drawing.


Janet Dean said...

Hi Connie! Kudos to your husband for bringing home that first romance. Thanks for your interest in mine!


Cindy W. said...

Great posting! Thank you!

I like to read romance novels because for a few hours each day I can step into another world, experience things I might never have a chance to experience and feel almost every kind of emotion.

Have a great day!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Janet Dean said...

Hi Cindy! I appreciate romance readers! Like you, I love a story that tugs at the heartstrings yet ends happily. Thanks for entering!


Dianna Shuford said...

Wow, Janet. How did you know that I really needed to be reminded of all of those points today? My first week back at work after summer break is always a killer, but today I'm truly wondering why I put myself through working more than nine hours a day only to come home and work some more. But, you're right, God does give me the words and one day I want to bring hope to those who need it, wholesome entertainment to those who lack it, and God's ability to dare to dream to become something more than the world speaks of.

I especially love to read romance books on days like this, when I'm too tired to think, because then I can be happy for another who finds happiness even when I'm worn down and out.

Hope and happiness are needed in our society, and romance novels meet that need for a lot of people as the stats can attest. God blesses those who encourage and spread His word, including inspirational roamnce authors.

By the way, I love LaVyrle Spencer too! One of my all time favorite stories is hers, Morning Glory.

Dianna Shuford said...

I'm so tired I forgot my email. :(


Patty said...

Janet, you're right--romance DOES matter. After all, our God is a romantic, matching Adam to his Eve. Inspirational romance writers are just following in our Father's footsteps.

Romance novels have always been on my reading list. My grandma, bless her romantic soul, bought me Harlequins when they first came out on the market because she thought I might just like them.

If she only knew.

Reading sweet romances got me though some tough times like when I was laid up in a hosptial back for over a month and my darling husband brought me two grocery sacks full of books to keep me company. Then years later, I introduced my mom to Love Inspired when she needed a break in caring for my grandfather.

And now I'm working toward being published with LIH. Though the writing road has had its ups and downs, I stand amazed at how God has worked to prepare me for THE CALL, starting all the way back on that day in Woolworth's when Grandma pointed out that very first romance.

Isn't He a great God?

Patty Hall

PS--I already have all your wonderful books, Janet so you don't have to put me in the drawing.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Diana, hope you get a good night's sleep. You deserve it!

Oh, I love Morning Glory! Remember the fabulous scene where she cuts his hair?


Janet Dean said...

Hi Patty, How fun to hear how romance has blessed the women in your family through the generations! And now you're writing them! Hoping our LIH romances will share a shelf!!


Audra Harders said...

Janet, girlfriend, no truer words have ever been spoken.

On so many levels.

Your words make me remember it's not all about me, like we sometimes like to wallow, but rather, we need to look beyond the personal highs and lows to see what really matters.

In God's eyes.

Thank you for the timely reminder.
You've filled me with deep thoughts I'll carry with me for a long time...especially since I've printed out your post!!

Walt M said...

Wondeful post. Boy, this is actually a difficult question for me. Why do I read romances?

1) I like the story
2) I like the people writing it.

Of course, when my wife asks why I read them, I say its for market research.


JoAnn Durgin said...

I write Christian romance because I want to honor the One who first loved US enough to send His Son - loved us enough that His precious Son died for you and me. The Lord rejoices with us when we can find and share that kind of selfless, unconditional love.

The stories that resonate with so many and remain in our hearts and minds are those that involve us emotionally. What better way than to show a man and woman who work together toward a common goal and fall in love along the way? Love soothes, it heals, it conquers so many adverse circumstances and makes us smile - on the inside AND out.

The greatest thrill for me as a writer is when my readers comment on how my writing has positively impacted their relationship. Case in point: a co-worker (who never reads novels) told me she loved the part where my hero finally confesses his love for his heroine. She and her husband even read it out loud - together. I never would have expected that, but what a sweet sentiment!

And yes, I LOVE my happy endings!
Life has enough drama and angst. Christians certainly face adversity and tragedy, but I prefer to equally celebrate the triumphs and the humor in life's situations.

And Janet, it was a joy to meet a fellow Hoosier writer at the FHL in Orlando! Keep writing! May the Lord continue to bless you richly.

Janet Dean said...

Hey, Audra! You said: ...we need to look beyond the personal highs and lows to see what really matters.

In God's eyes.

Thanks for wrapping the post in a nutshell!


Janet Dean said...

Hi Walt,

With therapy, you'll be able to admit all three reasons for reading romances. :-)


Janet Dean said...

Beautifully said, JoAnn. God bless you and your writing. Great to meet you in Orlando!


Patsy said...

Well Janet, I'm not a writer myself so I'll just stick to the reading. I really enjoy the romance novels. I think a lot of times when I read a romance novel I'm thinking, I wish that would happen to me.Love happy endings..makes it seem that all is right with the world and that good wins out.