Dammit. Now people are looking at me. Guess I gotta blog.
So I’m already getting about the response I expected, ranging somewhere between “Holy shite, there’s a cock in the henhouse, is he lost?” to “holy SHITE there’s a guy who writes romance novels! That’s awesome!” to the occasional “…a guy? Writing romance novels? Oh god, this is going to suck. Probably in the most vulgar terms possible.”
But what I get more than anything, and have been getting long before I poked my head into the social media sphere and its overall welcoming atmosphere, is one basic question:
Why? As a red-blooded American male of somewhat/halfway heterosexual leanings, why would I write romance novels geared toward a primarily female audience?
So before you really ask me that, I want you to go watch this (warning: NSFW):
Watched it? Yeah? Good.
Now go hug a gorram puppy.
I’m not even going to get into the pure BS that comes with using gay/f*g etc. as an insult, like throwing that around is supposed to instantly shame me and make me question my manhood. That’s a whole other issue for a whole other day. (But I’m going to say this once: cut the dudebro shite and stop using “gay” as an insult. What are you, three?) But if you want my why, Burr’s got it pretty much covered. I could try to be suave and trot out something about wanting to understand women more. I’d sound disingenuous. Even more, I’d sound like an egotistical arsehole, because most guys who try to pull off even half the things romance heroes do end up looking like awkward idiots. If we’re lucky, it comes across as adorable. If we’re not so lucky, you’ll stop laughing at us in a year or two. Or ten.
But no matter what I say, really what it boils down to is this: I write romance novels because I like reading romance novels, and I’m not particularly fond of letting people tell me what I can or cannot do just because of what’s in my jockeys.
It’s really as simple as that. Yet I’ve been getting incredulous responses from friends, family, and crit partners since I started writing, ranging from “Dude. Romance novels?” to “Dude. Romance novels!” Like I’m the first. I’m not, and I won’t be the last. Tons of men write romance novels, even if many use female pen names. But even more men read romance–and the question isn’t why we do.
The question is why we don’t.
Because if we dare to like something that isn’t dripping with enough testosterone to trigger ‘roid rage and impregnate every woman in a fifty-mile radius just by smelling it, it’s not manly enough. And some idiot’s going to yell “What are ya, a F*G?” because that’s going to prove his manhood over mine. Yep. You owned me, bro. Or whatever other guys are calling themselves these days.
Like the man said, that’s why we drop dead by the time we’re 55. Because all those oogy, soft, squishy feelings bottle up inside us and compact into something nasty that plugs us up until we pop, or lose our minds in a fit of repressed angst. Me? I’m not that fond of aneurysms. Nor am I fond of walking around in an emotionally constipated snit, taking it out on everyone around me. What I am fond of is good books that let me feel something. That means I read a lot of everything. Depends on what I want to feel, really. If I want to feel a profound appreciation of the human condition and the philosophy of mankind? I read science fiction. If I want to feel breathlessly enchanted, I read fantasy. If I want to ponder deep and pretentious things, I read historical fiction. If I want to feel like a badarse, I read…okay, more science fiction. And good mystery novels. And paranormals. And if I just want All the Feels crammed into a single novel, pretty much anything YA will do.
And if I want to smile like a damned idiot and hunch into my shoulders gripping the pages hoping Jack and Jill make up after their latest fight because I just need them to fall in love? I grab a good romance novel. And I hug a puppy. (All right, kitten. I’m a cat person.) And I drink my coffee with extra sugar. And whatever the hell else I feel like doing, because judging people based on gender roles is so last century. And it’s just boring.
Every guy has his soft spot. He might not be willing to publicly show it because the dudebros might get a whiff of those sparkly little pheromones and explode, but he’s got it. Mine is writing romance novels. Never know, your guy’s soft spot might just be reading them. When you’re sleeping at night, he’s got Maya Banks cracked open under the covers, reading voraciously and letting out all those things he bottles up. Look at it as self-preservation, smile, and when he’s not looking, sneak a few more onto his shelf.
Save a life. Buy a man a romance novel.
And if you have to, look the other way while he reads it.
|NEW CROW CITY COVERS
The Crow City Series now has a new cover set – dark, sleek, and just in time for the latest book in the series. See the full series covers here.
TWENTY NOTES TO THE ANXIOUS, MELANCHOLY WRITER
|AUTUMN (CROW CITY #2.75)
The latest installment in the Crow City series is here – with series favorites Walford Gallifrey and Joseph Armitage returning in a poignant story of reconciliation and newfound love in the first contemporary M/M in the Crow City Series.