Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mindless Romance? Pssshaw!

By Nina Pierce (Guest Blogger)

What is it about reading romance that attracts so many readers? Well, the fantasy of course! Who doesn’t want to fall in love with a hero who is strong and protective when the going gets tough, but soft and gentle when the lights turn down and the music goes up?

I think I was probably twelve when I read my first romance. And we’re not talking any Harlequin romance pilfered from my mother’s nightstand or Judy Blume romance here (though I love both of those right to death), I’m talking the hardcore romance in the “Thorn Birds” by Colleen McCullough. Oh, you know it. The forbidden love between a priest and a young woman who wants to follow her heart and not the rules was my introduction into the romance genre.

I was completely hooked. From that moment on I devoured anything romance. What young girl doesn’t want to find the man of her dreams that all the heroines of these books seemed to discover? Pick me! Pick me!

So it was no surprise, when I had to retire from teaching for medical reasons and allowed my muse to run free, that I decided my writing would involve the very love stories I had come to adore. Being a teacher, I wanted to learn the “right” way to write fiction. I took a fiction writing course at the local college. The first day when I proudly announced I was beginning a career in writing romance, the instructor gagged. Literally. I’m not kidding. I have enough confidence (and business sense) not to be deterred. It’s what I loved to read so I knew it would be what I would want to write. (And the highest grossing of the book markets.)

As the semester progressed and I had to read my short love stories, the professor refused to comment on my writing. In his opinion, if it wasn’t literature, then it was not true writing. As a former teacher I was appalled. The man was there to teach writing techniques not be judgmental about a genre. Whatever. It’s been five years since I took that class and two and a half years since my first romance was published. I realize now that that professor didn’t really teach me a darn thing. I learned from contest entries, other writers and even some rejections from publishers.

I’m not really sure why the romance genre gets slammed so hard, And now that I’ve found my niche in erotic romance, I find sometimes this genre really gets stuck at the bottom of the barrel. Seriously? My story and plots are no less complicated because the main characters find themselves in bed and often times walking down the aisle by the end of the book. The mystery and twists and turns of a suspense plot are still woven in there. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Not all romances are boy meets girl. Girl hates boy. Boy saves her life and voila!—marriage. The romances I enjoy reading most usually have some kind of thriller or suspense plot in them.

Yep, as a scientist, I love the idea of solving puzzles. So that’s what I write and read. Romantic suspense. When you open the bedroom door it becomes erotic romantic suspense. And if I add a werewolf or vampire it becomes paranormal erotic romantic suspense. Then if I push it further and put it in a future that doesn’t exist where I can stretch my imagination it becomes, futuristic paranormal erotic romantic suspense. Whew, now that’s a mouthful and it is just so not worth trying to explain that to people.

So if someone asks what I write, I simplify it by saying erotic suspense. All of my books, save for one, are erotic suspense novels. Some are contemporary, others futuristic and still others have a paranormal twist. But at the heart, they’re all romances and that’s what makes me just sigh with satisfaction.

My newest release “Healer’s Garden”, from Ellora’s Cave is a futuristic. I fell in love with the hero, Brenimyn, long before I knew him. He is the conglomeration of all those heroes who entertained a teenager’s fantasies.


He understood she was his destiny. She never knew a man was her future.

In the female dominated society of the 23rd century, mating with a male, even if it is to save the human race, is a distasteful task and one Healer Jahara Hriznek has successfully avoided—until now.

Brenimyn is a gifted breeding instructor at the Garden of Serenity. Forced to copulate with all females requesting his services, he yearns to find the one woman who responds to his touch. When Jahara arrives with the new class of breeders, Brenimyn’s body immediately aches for her, but convincing the stubborn healer that sex between a man and a woman is more than just an act for procreation proves to be a challenge he refuses to fail.

Jahara doesn’t want to enjoy the sinful rapture only Brenimyn brings to her body. Brenimyn has no intention of dousing the flames of desire licking at them until Jahara is completely his—body, mind, and heart. But when the government finds their loving relationship a threat to the natural order, there may be more than their stubborn wills at stake.


I want to thank Lisabet for letting me take over her blog today. I love talking about anything writing, romance and most especially, my books. I’d love to hear what you think about romance, either as a reader or a writer. Do you think it gets a bad rap?

And here’s where I hang out on the web:





my book trailers:


Lisabet Sarai said...

Welcome to Beyond Romance, Nina!

I feel truly annoyed at people who look down on romance. It's true that the genre is escapist, but so is most fiction. And certainly I've read some romance as well-crafted and absorbing as any Pulitzer Prize novel.

Thanks for being my guest!

Andrea I said...

I do think some people look down on romance. I read it because it is escaptist. I read for relaxation. An urban fantasy or a suspense thriller might require more concentration and at that moment, I might need something light. There are times for romance and times for other types of fiction.

Maggie Dove said...

Oh...The I absolutely loved that novel. Great post!


Nina Pierce said...

Lisabet - Thanks for having me here today. The thing about people who put down romance ... many of them have never read one. Don't knock it 'til you try it I always say.

Nina Pierce said...

Andrea - And there it is. It's the fantasy. It's the escapism! And right, there's a time for all different genres.

Nina Pierce said...

Maggie - It's one of my all time favorite books. Thanks for stopping by.

Cate Masters said...

Great post, Nina. I think the people who slam romance probably haven't read one, or at least not recently. The myriad of subgenres make it an exciting genre, the only one that's grown through the recession. If they knew the depth of research, not to mention the author's hard work, that went into it, maybe they'd reconsider. If not, they're missing out!

Nina Pierce said...

Cate - That is so true! With all that's out there I think someone who hasn't read romance may have a very narrow picture of what the stories contain. And like you said, I don't think people realize how much research goes into writing a good story.

Francesca Hawley said...

I loved your post, Nina. Far too often romance authors and EROTIC romance authors in particular are treated with disrespect because others don't choose to read what we write. It can be disheartening, but I (and all your readers) are so thrilled you didn't let a jerk of a "teacher" put you off your dream!

Nina Pierce said...

Francesca - LOL! Sometimes we have to let things just roll off our shoulders. And thank you. *blushes*

Michelle Libby said...

Hi Nina!
I can't believe the way that professor acted. So disrespectful. Sometimes I feel like I'm the one being prejudiced, when I say, "Oh is that a literary novel"? The drama in many of those, make me gag. Who wants that much reality? Don't we have enough of that?

Romance is an escapism, just like everyone said. It's an adventure.

Happy Days. I'm off to read a romance.

Jillian Hallowell

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Yes, romance is escapist--that's the whole point! Great essay, Nina, and to that stuck up professor? HA! Who's the multi-published author now?

Nina Pierce said...

Jillian - Truly, I was appalled because I'm a teacher. His job was to TEACH regardless of genre. Yeah, it's a small state college with one small minded prof. I got over it. (Though he's totally getting my first printed book with rubber gloves enclosed ... which is the only way he can hold a romance... that's a quote.)

Nina Pierce said...

Cindy - ROFLOL! Well said.

Sam Cheever said...

Hey Nina!

I love your attitude. I don't write my stories to change the world, I write them to enhance the life of one reader at a time, by immersing her in my world for a while and hopefully helping her escape what 'is' so she can enjoy the possibilities of what 'could be'. If we can enhance someone's life for a while by entertaining and delighting them, isn't that a truly awesome gift? Thanks for sharing, great post.

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