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Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by The Smut Report

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on the I Love Romance Blog. In recent years, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep to the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback.

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to blogger The Smut Report, a female team with a few things to say about the question at hand.

What Does Romance Mean to Us?

 

At The Smut Report, we read a lot of romance novels. Like, a LOT of romance novels. And let’s be real – there’s a stereotype floating around that people who read romance novels have a skewed idea of romance and relationships. Obviously, we must be delusional spinsters or miserable sex-starved moms who expect men to read us poetry and/or fight monsters and/or know exactly what we want at all times.

Romance is also super oversimplified. There are pivotal life events like birth and death that, when addressed in literature, are considered really “deep” and vulnerable and raw. This non-genre fiction is lauded for its thoughtfulness and meaning. There’s a whole sub-genre dedicated to “coming of age” and all the inner turmoil that comes with that — but a genre whose sole purpose is to unpack the delicious, unsettling, sloppy moments leading up to individuals falling in love? That’s for unsatisfied housewives.

freestocks.org, Unsplash

Falling in love transforms individual people into something new, something with overlap and grey area and messiness. And strength. In romance we see people coming together to form a stronger whole, yet we also see how having the support of a loving partner can provide a wellspring of strength to an individual.

Ryan Jacobson, Unsplash

But before that can happen, all the messy feelings and social and personal obstacles must be resolved. There are new debates in the romance community every day about whether it’s romance if there’s no happy ending, if there’s no sex, if there’s this, or that, or the other thing. These arguments reflect this messy, sexy, grey area that exists in our lives when we love. This genre, maybe more than any other genre, asks us to be honest about what a satisfying life looks like. And it acknowledges that the answer is different for different people.

Created by Freepik

Even though the three of us have somewhat divergent tastes (Erin likes heroes who ooze power, Holly prefers her books on the sexy side, Ingrid sometimes skips the sex scenes so she can get back to the witty banter), there are a few things that we all love in a romance novel. Far from creating unrealistic ideas of what romance is, the best romance novels feature satisfying portrayals of emotional connection. It makes us ask what pleasure looks like for YOU, what commitment looks like for YOU. You know, that extra spark that brings out the swooning romantic in the most jaded of us. (That would be Holly, in case you were wondering.)

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

Romance can be just a fun, sexy romp or a swashbuckling adventure, but it can also bring you closer to yourself. It’s a safe way to examine romance in your own life–your likes, your dislikes, what you want to feel and how you want to be loved. You know it when you read it.

Flower photo created by tirachard – http://www.freepik.com

We recently went to an author talk in which Sarah MacLean said she loves the increased use of dirty talk in romance because it’s “ongoing consent”. How amazing is that? That there are authors looking for ways to make love scenes more clear, more unfettered, by making sure the consent is obvious AND beautifully done. This stuff matters.

Romance is a largely inclusive genre – and that’s important. The authors who write these books are constantly bursting open doors and welcoming more people in. It matters to have characters that look like real people and who love like real people do. Race, gender identity, sexual orientation–it’s all discussed in the romance literature written every day. Possibly there are not really people in love with shifters, we acknowledge (if there are, Erin would like to hear from you). But in all seriousness, there are so many different combinations of who loves whom (and how many love together) out in the world that it’s appropriate and necessary for such love to be reflected in our literature.

Created by Ijeab – Freepik.com

And where reality fails us, we have the opportunity to explore the notion of romance in the “other” in paranormal, sci-fi, and other sub-genres of romance. The authors who are opening these doors and windows for us readers are also readers themselves, and we support each other. Romance creates community, even if we never speak directly to one another.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

In short, romance means a lot to us. It’s been a source of comfort and connection for us for decades. It’s made us think about things in different ways. It makes us test ourselves. It’s made us uncomfortable and angry and happy. We have literally cried and literally laughed so loudly that we’ve scared pets and woken sleeping children.

Ben White, Unsplash

Romance brings us joy. It’s as simple as that.

Lovely! I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post! Great to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

The Smut Report is the brainchild of Erin, Holly, and Ingrid, three thirty-somethings who have been swapping smut books for twenty years. They’ve read a lot of smut and love the genre. They want to share their love of smut with people who already love to read romance, but also with people who are curious about the genre, yet are a little bit scared to dive right in. So, in order to further their goal of sharing the wonderful, witty, and downright weird corners of the world of smut with everyone they know, they started a blog, where they can chat about romance novels to their hearts’ content.

Links

Website/Blog:  https://smutreport.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/smutreport/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/smutreport

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/91403885-smut-report

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/smutreport/

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is romance a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we usually get booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a freelance writer or author, or even from a romantic themed organization. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

Thanks again, The Smut Report, for giving us your take on what romance (and the book genre) has come to mean to you, plus some food for thought. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next guest post when Dr. Anne Hancock visits ILRB on October 3rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, feature, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Special Feature, Stories, Writing

Top 10 Dating Tips for the Modern Woman: a guest post by author Kai Nicole

Top 10 Dating Tips for the Modern Woman

by Kai Nicole

 

Let’s face it, dating in this digital era is getting a bit crazy. We are in a cultural shift where women have a lot more money and freedom than they used to have, all while traditionalism is still desired by many. So, how are modern women to navigate the madness? Here are 10 tips to help the single women out there:

  1. Be Whole

Do not date with the expectation that there is someone else outside of you who will complete you. You are a complete person, and you should date like one.  If you don’t feel fully complete then dating should not be your priority. You should take the time to focus on yourself becoming whole and happy.

Happy women always have a better dating life.

  1. Be Open

One of the biggest reasons women are disappointed with their dating experiences is because they have so many expectations that cannot be met. In order to have better dating experiences, you have to be open. That means no expectations! Let the dates flow and enjoy the moment!

  1. Stop “Husband Shopping”

“If you are one of these women who is searching for a husband, you are not dating, you are shopping. You are looking for a guy who fits some requirements you have created in your mind – a fantasy. Stop doing that. If you want to date, you need to understand the reality. Dating is taking time to get to know someone. That’s it. You give your time and in turn a man gives his time to you so that you both get to know each other.” – Date Like A Woman

  1. Only accept dates from men who are genuinely interested in you

Clarisse Meyer, Unsplash

How can you tell that a man is genuinely interested? He will risk rejection. Ladies, if a man risks nothing, especially public rejection, he really isn’t that interested in you, period. You are just some woman to pass the time with. When a man is REALLY interested in you, he is going to make sure you know it even at the risk of being embarrassed. Because in his mind you are worth it. The men who risk something to ask you out, those are the men you should date. They are genuinely interested.

  1. Date In Your Circle

When it comes to dating, there are many types of circles/leagues. However, your dating experiences are best when you date within your leagues/circles. I talk about dating circles more in-depth in my book. If you want to know what circles you are in, you should take a look at your own life. Chances are you spend time with those who are most similar to you. The men who are most similar to the folks you hang around are the men who are in your circles.

Pixabay, pexels.com

Why are dating experiences with men in your circle better? Because you have more in common and will have more to share and talk about.

  1. Avoid online dating and dating men who only send you DMs

As I like to say, “shoot your shot in public so I know it’s real.” Men who only date online or shoot their shot in DMs lack either true interest in the woman or their ability to talk to women is lacking in some way. When a man is not genuinely interested in a woman, the dating experience is always subpar.

While online dating and DMs have made it easier for men to access women, especially men who are scared to speak to women in person, the increased access to women means there is a decreased chance of genuine interest. Of course, many people love to fight me on this point, stating that they either met their spouses online or know someone who has met a spouse online. Whenever this happens, I simply point out that the success rate for online dating is 5%. That means 95% (that’s ninety-five percent) of the time online dating does not work. On top of that, the online dating business is worth $2 billion dollars. Online dating sites make more money if they keep you single. So, if you are okay with that, then please, by all means, keep dating online.

  1. Be more than a pretty package

Matthew T Rader, Unsplash

Focus less on how you look and more on who you are as a person when you date. “You must be more than just a pretty face. If you aren’t interesting, men are not going to be interested in you. You must be more than just a ‘wrapping.’ You have to give your date more than just an appearance. You have to give your date something to get to know.”’ – Date Like A Woman

  1. Date more than one man at a time

If you are not in a relationship, you’re single. Act like it. DATE!

Huy Phan, Unsplash

 

Shanique Wright, Unsplash

  1. Learn to let go

If a date doesn’t go the way you want it to, don’t sweat it. Letting go and moving on when things aren’t “right” is one of the key components to a great dating life.

Created by katemangostar – http://www.freepik.com

Remember, this is dating, not a relationship! If one guy isn’t for you, date a different one!

  1. Buy Date Like A Woman!

Get Date Like A Woman, the BEST dating guide for women, if you really want a better dating life!

Flower photo created by tirachard – http://www.freepik.com

 

Want to read more dating blogs? Check out DateLikeAWoman.com’s Blog. Be sure to also check out Kai’s personal blog at FlyMommy.net! And, don’t forget to buy the best dating book for women, Date Like A Woman!

Too right! Thank you, Kai, for giving us your impression of how to navigate dating in this modern age.

Well, readers, shall we take a look at the book on which her philosophy is based? Sounds like a plan!  😀

Great cover!  🙂

Here’s the blurb for Date Like a Woman:

Date Like A Woman (DLAW) is for the 21st century woman who is ready for a new narrative about dating, romance, sex and life!  DLAW helps women move from fear to freedom. It offers practical dating advice, teaching women to navigate through the often challenging and daunting dating world, while countering the sexist, stereotypical and, frankly, stupid “instructions” spewed at women by self-professed male “dating experts.”

DLAW puts the FUN back into dating while also providing no-nonsense guidance that empowers and encourages women who have grown weary, been disappointed, and are still holding on to outmoded and unrealistic expectations about their dating choices. DLAW reminds women of their worth, helping them understand that they do not need to fit some antiquated model of being “accepted” or “chosen” by men.

For women who are so ready to sever the cord – quickly, forcefully and permanently – that has kept them bound by dangerous dogma and silly, sexist “thought leaders,” DLAW offers fresh, funny advice for discovering themselves, deciding what they really want, and enjoying dating!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/0692864350

Add it to Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36164605-date-like-a-woman

♥♥♥ Ooh…love it! This looks like such a helpful read! 

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Kai! Awesome to have you here! ♥

Author Bio

Published author, blogger and attorney Kai Nicole has emerged as an exciting and unique voice on dating and relationships. A graduate of Harvard University and Howard University School of Law, Kai’s professional experiences encompass diverse fields including legal, tech, and entertainment. She is a mother, world traveler, foodie, and lifestyle enthusiast.

 

Thanks again, Kai! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles, Traditions, Writers, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Lynn Chantale

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. In recent years, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep to the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback.

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Lynn Chantale, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

The Twelfth Wing

 

Romance does not come easy for me. If you’re looking for fancy words or deeds to make the heart melt or bring a tear to the eye, you’ve got the wrong woman. But you write romance, you say. Yes, I can appreciate a sentimental moment or gesture when it’s given.

For me, romance goes beyond flowers, cards, candy and trinkets. Those things are all nice but, they lost some of the awww factor.

Why? Divorce.

Recently,  I gave dating another chance. This time I focused on Meetup groups. This has proven a lot more successful in finding a worthy candidate. In one of these meetings I met a gentleman with a great sense of humor, intelligent, and and has that strong, silent thing going on that romance authors like to create in their heroes.

GEORGE DESIPRIS, pexels.com

I’ve read many romance novels in various sub-genres, have written a few myself, but to meet someone who embodies my type of romance changed my somewhat jaded outlook on love.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

Romance is so much more than making love at the  end of a great date. It’s offering the twelfth wing, or the last slice of chocolate fudge cake. It’s opening doors, holding hands, or a single caress that says; “I am into you.”

In spite of an amicable divorce —I still love the stupid man— and with him getting engaged to a TTF (totally toxic female), I braved the dating world to find a POSiTive love interest.

Brett Jordan, Unsplash

Romance is not lowering your standards, but honoring yourself. When you’re true to who you are, you’re in a better position to receive the twelfth wing or the last slice of chocolate fudge cake. I know you’re probably wondering what the heck romance has to do with offering the last of something. It’s simple…I care about you enough to put your wants and needs above my own. I care for your happiness and well-being above mine. I consider your choice before I make mine.

Yeah, so simple a concept that it brought back the awww factor for me.

Briona Baker, Unsplash

Romance still needs consistent open, honest communication and quality time. With that comes the toe-curling, bed-breaking lovemaking at the end of a truly great date.  And yes, when we’re together I’ll offer you the twelfth wing. But be honest in your answer, ‘cause if you say no, I’m going to eat the last piece. 🙂

Nice! How incredibly romantic. I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Lynn! Lovely to have you here! ♥
 
Guest Bio

Lynn Chantale, a romance novelist, short story writer, and part-time background singer, has published many stories across several genres.  Her works include Sex, Lies, and Joysticks, The Contractor’s Baby, and The Pick-Up Wife, to name a few.

When she’s not taking over the world, she’s dominating her household, family, and her cat, Shakespeare. You can visit her at any of her cyber haunts.

Author Links

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we get booked up fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

 

Thanks again, Lynn, for giving us a peek into what romance means to you. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next exclusive interview when author Dana Littlejohn visits us on July 23rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Faith, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Traditions, Writers