Tag Archives: connections

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Carole McKee

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, 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 into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Carole McKee, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

What does Romance mean to me? It’s a wonderful feeling. While candlelight dinners and flowers are great, they are not true romance. Romantic? Yes, possibly.

It’s the little things that make up romance. Roses ordered from a florist are lovely, but that store-bought bouquet picked up at the grocery store, on an impulse, just means so much more to me. And nothing says ‘I love you’ more than when he interrupts a walk in the park to pick a wild flower for his lady. It’s a sweet thing to do.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Romance is sweet. In my opinion, anyway. Subtle acts and small gestures that say “I love you.” A phone call in the middle of the day, just to say, “I’m thinking of you.” These little things are so romantic, and they mean so much. I believe that these romantic gestures lead to love.

Romance is beautiful. The whole world seems brighter; music is sweeter, colors are more vibrant, stars are plentiful, and people are happier when there is romance in the air.

Created by Freepik

Romance is love. Being romantic shows that a person cares. Just by thinking of things to do in order to make the other person happy, is a way to show loving and caring. That’s romance.

Romance can be so uplifting. It makes a woman feel special. Romance makes a woman feel pretty.

I worked with a woman who always looked sad. She was divorced, and had been for several years. Her 50th birthday was fast approaching, and to her, it was depressing. She told me she felt ugly and useless, and unloved. What this woman didn’t know was that there was a gentleman in the next department who was interested in her. He was 52. My mission? To make things happen. Now, I don’t like to play matchmaker, but I’m not opposed to spreading little factual tidbits. I told Jerry that Norma’s birthday was the following Saturday, and I just mentioned in passing that she had no plans to celebrate. Good ole Jerry took the hint. On Friday, flowers arrived at Norma’s desk with a lovely note, saying that he would love to celebrate her birthday with her and could he pick her up for dinner at 7:00 on Saturday?

Created by Valeria_aksakova – Freepik.com

Gotta love Jerry!

I saw the biggest transformation I have ever seen. Norma’s face lost ten years right away. Her eyes lifted at the corners, as did her lips. Her face looked brighter, and actually healthier. When she showed me the note, the first thing she said was that she had to get some new make-up and get her hair done. I suggested she go all the way, and buy a new dress, too. For the first time ever, I saw Norma smile and become giddy. She emailed a positive response to Jerry. But it didn’t end there.

Surprisingly, Jerry was the romantic type. Norma and Jerry became an item, and Jerry showered her with compliments, flowers, and little surprises almost every day. I witnessed a wallflower turn into a rose. That’s what romance does for you! Oh, and by the way, Norma and Jerry are married now. They both retired and spend their time traveling, or just staying home. Isn’t romance and love wonderful?

Romance can keep a woman healthy. This may be a stretch, but I don’t think so. Happy people get sick less often. That’s been proven. And what could make someone happier than to have love and romance in their life?

Created by Whatwolf – Freepik.com

I have heard people remark that romance ends after the honeymoon. It doesn’t have to, and it shouldn’t. Why would anyone stop showing love and consideration just after committing to someone, promising to spend forever with that person?

Saying ‘I love you’ can be the beginning of a wonderful life together. Romantic gestures reinforce those three little words. But even before those three words are spoken, the little romantic things two people do for each other make those words flow easily, right from the heart.

Romance doesn’t mean the same to everybody. This is what it means to me. Most importantly, romance is what makes a woman feel cherished, special, and beautiful. Every woman deserves to feel that way.

Created by Photoroyalty – Freepik.com

I wish I could say that I have experienced true romance, but I was never that fortunate. Since I haven’t, romance is not a driving force in my actual life, but it is so in my writing. I know what romance should be, and my characters experience it. In my first novel, Perfect, there were plenty of romantic overtures.

Nathan and Katrina are truly in love, and Nathan is the master of romance! In all my novels my female characters get treated to wonderful romance, and my male characters get treated as I think a woman should respond to romance.

To me, this is the way it should be.

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

Guest Bio

Carole McKee has been writing since 1996, beginning with a short story written as a tribute to her beloved dog after he passed away. She published her first novel, Perfect, in 2007, followed by the “Choices” series. She recently published four eBooks. Her genres include Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Contemporary Romance. Originally from Pittsburgh, Carole now resides in Clearwater, Florida. Many of her stories take place in Western Pennsylvania, a place she still loves. Prior to becoming a writer, she acquired a widely diversified work history and education.  She now writes full-time, and enjoys retirement life.

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’re getting booked 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, Carole, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Nikki Ashton visits us on May 30th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Romance, sports romance, Writers, Writing