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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!

4 Comments

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 Dating Connections

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 the company Dating Connections, and see what they have to say about the question at hand.

What Does Romance Mean to Me? You’ve probably asked yourself this once or twice, at least, but the answer is not that simple, is it? It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a long-term relationship, a hot fling or even some kind of gothic romance, it always comes to this question – what does romance actually mean to you? In order to help you answer this bewildering and everlasting question, I decided to share some of the crucial things that I believe make romance so unique and wonderful. If you want to know what being romantic really means, stick around and check out my personal “romance guide.”

The Littlest Things Are The Most Important

Those littlest things truly are crucial and that’s exactly why Lily Allen devoted the whole song to them. All joking aside, being spontaneous, charming, and generous without any special cause is how you keep the fire burning in the relationship. Small, warm gestures and displays of affection are the two quickest ways to romance town! A spontaneous massage for your significant other or a cooked meal after a long day will get you far in this romance game.

Created by Freepik

These things don’t require much effort, but I bet your partner will know how to appreciate them.

Giving Thoughtful Gifts

What is romance without gift-giving, right? However, simply buying something for your lover won’t actually do the trick. Anyone can save up some money and purchase a shiny piece of jewelry at the local shop, but if you really want to surprise and swoon your “partner in crime”, you should definitely consider giving them those so-called thoughtful gifts. Instead of just buying something fancy from the store, try creating something with your own hands, or at least buy a gift with a special theme. Pay attention to the things your partner loves and surprise him/her with an awesome and thoughtful gift.

Created by Freepik

An old school vinyl of their favorite band or a book from their beloved writer are always good choices.

Write Letters

This form of communication is, unfortunately, completely forgotten, at least when it comes to younger generations. However, you can use that to your advantage and revive this lovely tradition of sending love letters to your significant other. Sharing feelings with your partner is extremely important, and writing down your thoughts and sending them to your loved one makes it more romantic. Letters are intimate and more honest than text messages; therefore use that fact to melt your partner’s heart.

Created by Valeria_aksakova – Freepik.com

Short, Thoughtful Notes And Messages

Don’t get me wrong, letters are more romantic than text messages, for sure, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to write letters every day. We live in a busy fast-paced world where no one has time for that. However, anyone can find time for a quick and thoughtful text message or a lovely note. These seemingly little and “less important” things can sometimes mean more to your partner than some grand romantic gesture. Little shows of affection like these on a daily basis are more effective and definitely more romantic.

Always Try To Impress And Seduce Your Loved One

People often think that once they get into a relationship with someone all the playfulness, seducing and flirting has to stop. This is a big mistake. Yes, hooking up with someone is your first and primary goal, but once that goal is completed, you need to keep the fire going or else you risk losing the essential chemistry and passion. Without those two, a relationship simply can’t last very long. Try learning new stuff like playing a guitar, dancing, singing, or cooking and use those new skills to surprise your significant other.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

This kind of effort and hard work is extremely romantic. Of course, you don’t have to be the next Jimmy Page on the guitar or Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen, but you’ll still get an A for effort. Your partner will know how much you care!

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

There you go, folks. Romance isn’t always about big gestures and epic improvements; it’s about those little, everyday things. Use this guide to master the art of romance and show your loved ones how much you actually care about them.

 

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

Guest Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

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, 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, Dating Connections, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you, plus, of course, a few tips we can all use in our romantic lives. Perfect! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Devika Fernando visits us on June 6th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

1 Comment

Filed under Blogging, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Nikki Ashton

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 Nikki Ashton, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

I’ve seen many articles and musings from scholars and writers that say romance novels can’t possibly qualify as books and that if you read such ‘escapist trash’, it’s pretty sad. Well, that is their opinion and they are entitled to give it; after all, we live in a free world. I, for one, disagree, mainly because I’m a romantic and a writer of romance, but also because I believe it’s a matter of taste. For example, I don’t like Jazz music. I simply don’t enjoy it or feel any sort of emotion from listening to it – I just don’t ‘get it’. However, I would never suggest those that do listen to it are sad; we simply have different tastes and they have poor hearing (sorry…poor excuse for a joke).

Created by Freepik

Romance, however, does evoke lots of emotion in me. Romance actually makes me a little giddy, to be honest, and because I believe in fairy tales and happy ever afters, there really wasn’t anything else I could end up doing but becoming a writer of that genre. Even as a child, I had a crush on Prince Charming and desperately wanted Troy Tempest and Marina from Stingray to get married and have lots of babies (anyone younger than 45 probably won’t get that). I even believe that the celebrity ‘love affairs’ that are publicized in magazines are going to last forever. Yes, I am a true romantic, because for me romance and love means a happy ending.

I have often wondered why I’m a romantic and did consider it was because of my parent’s broken marriage. Instead of their divorce making me distrust love, I desperately wanted the two most important people in my life, at that time, to regain those feelings for each other. When they didn’t, I craved it for everyone else instead, if only to prove that true love really does exist. Alternatively, I might be a romantic because I’m a Pisces. Who knows? What I do know is that life should have a happy ending and if the best way to do that is to create it myself, then I’m all in.

Created by Freepik

It’s true to say that due to my idealistic disposition, my characters are people that I wouldn’t mind spending time with or, in an ideal world, I would love to be like. Yes, they veer towards the more romantic version of a human being. The women tend to be pretty and feisty with killer bodies and beautiful hair, while the men…well the men just tend to be hot and sometimes a little domineering, in the best possible way.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Some may say that is a failing in my writing. After all, life isn’t like that – not everyone has the perfect body or a beautiful face and I know that, believe me I do. But I write romance and if you look up a synonym for romance, you would possibly find the following:

Invention, concoction, trumped up story or fantasy

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m proud to be a romance writer and proud of the characters and stories that I create. My books will never send you a life-changing message, or be thought-provoking, or even win a literary prize, but they might just make you smile and put a little flutter in your heart. So, if you too are a romantic, or even if you’re not, why not give them a go? You might just like them.

So, what does romance mean to me – well, it’s everything good and happy and props to it, I say.

 

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

Guest Bio

Nikki lives in Cheshire with her husband, two dogs and lovely mother-in-law who supplies her with endless cups of tea. She writes romance with a touch of humor and lots of love, and hopes that she puts a smile on her reader’s faces.
Her ambitions of becoming a writer started at the age of 10 when she started writing poetry at school, and was given the honor of reading one of her poems to the rest of her year group (a truly embarrassing experience that she will never forget).
Nikki is grateful for the wide variety of strange and wonderful people in her life, otherwise she’d never know what to write about! She is currently talking to family and friends, finding out their innermost secrets in readiness for her next book.
Although all Nikki’s books are stand alone stories characters do make ‘guest appearances’. So, the best order to read them is:

Guess Who I Pulled Last Night
No Bra Required
Get Your Kit Off
Rock Stars Don’t Like Big Knickers
Rock Stars Don’t Like Ugly Bras
Rock Stars Do Like Christmas
Cheese Tarts & Fluffy Socks

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, Nikki, 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 the company Dating Connections visits us on June 1st! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic comedy, Writers, Writing