Ugly Duckling…

Wild chicken of Hawaii (and chick)

Why are the women in romance novels (or any novels, for that matter) always beautiful, attractive and/or drop-dead gorgeous? At the very least, they are plain – although this is usually their own personal view of themselves.

Just once, I’d like to read about a homely woman who finds love…

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Gay Romance Novels…

Why are the covers of gay romance novels so different than those of mainstream romance? Are we, the ones who actually read (and look forward to!) the sex scenes between two men, really afraid to see two men embracing on the cover? Or are publishers afraid of offending someone whose eyes might happen upon the book by mistake?

Hetero Romance
Typical mainstream romance cover art: Half-dressed man embracing half-dressed woman, smoldering looks, shuttered eyes.

Male Romance
Typical gay romance cover art: One handsome face in the foreground, a second handsome face in the background. No smoldering looks, no shuttered eyes. No touching?!? How is that romance?

Romance is a Fallacy…

Sand 05
[Patterns in the Sand]

I sometimes wonder why I read romance novels. I love the idea – two people find their way to each other, overcome difficult obstacles, fall in love, and live happily ever after.

But the reality is that life is not a romance novel. There are more obstacles to surmount than any romance novel ever dreamed of. While those obstacles are usually too mundane for any publisher, they overwhelm us in daily life.

  • Romance Novel Obstacle #1: He is a recovering alcoholic just trying to live his life one day at a time, fearful no woman could love him because of his past.
  • Real Life Obstacle #1: He is an alcoholic and probably does drugs. He thinks he is God’s gift to women and that he should spread the love around (without you knowing, of course).

  • Romance Novel Obstacle #2: She is a single mother struggling to raise her son on her own – until the father finds out and wants back into their lives.
  • Real Life Obstacle #2: She is a single mother struggling to raise her son on her own. Period.

  • Romance Novel Obstacle #3: They meet online and seem to have an instant connection. After a month of emails, texting, and phone calls, they decide to meet for coffee. Surprise! They work together. It will never work. Or will it?
  • Real Life Obstacle #3: They meet online and seem to have an instant connection. After a month of emails, texting, and phone calls, they decide to meet for coffee. Surprise! He never shows up and she never hears from him again.