Obviously we have author Myke Cole visiting with us today. I so wanted to do some sort of ridiculous intro. But sadly I’m blanking. I also don’t know Mr. Cole well enough. (Ok, so like at all.) Also, he seems pretty badass. And believe it or not, I’m actually not that stupid. I know not to mess with such persons. Also because I’m pretty sure Mr. Cole already thinks I’m dumb. (This whole misunderstanding on my part of what he has/hasn’t written…) >.> Anyway, let’s ignore all my chatter! Par for the course!
I think this is a pretty great post.
They say the average man thinks about sex every seven seconds. While this adage has long since been proven to be false, the fact is that we do think about it an awful lot.
You know what we also think about a lot? Love. Companionship. Romance. Marriage. Loneliness. Those thoughts shape our every action. They drive us to the gym, to the clothing store, to the barber. We push for wealth, status and power in part because of our desire to be attractive to a mate. Whenever my female friends complain that the world will never let them be anything other than young and beautiful, I always respond, “Oh yeah? Well, the world will never let me be anything other than strong, rich and powerful.”
These are exaggerations, of course, but they prove the central point: Romantic impulses are every bit as important to men as they are to women. We are just as interested in the topic as women are. We are socialized to approach it differently, but it matters to us. We CARE about it.
So somebody please explain to me WHY the romance genre has been labeled WOMEN ONLY?
Publishers seem to think that only women read it, that only women can write it.
And that’s just not right.
Do me a favor. Go google, “men who read romance.”
I don’t think I need to do a whole lot more than that to at least put some reasonable doubt on the table.
Here’s the thing: I wrote on Shiloh Walker’s blog that I’d read Nora Roberts and Lora Leigh, and I was looking to delve further into the genre. I’m as good as my word. Let’s add Solange Ayre, Rowan West, Lacey Thorn, Cindy Pape, Elayne Venton and Jory Strong to the mix.
It’s a mixed bag, but overall, the stuff works. These are people who can write, and they’re writing about topics that captivate.
And they’re all women.
Which raises the central question: Is romance really something that men aren’t interested in (either as consumers or producers)? I don’t think it is. Worse, I worry that perhaps romance publishers may be falling victim to assumptions that there’s no way to make money off romances targeted at men, or better, romances targeted at EVERYBODY.
I’m sure there’s some truth to that, but even if it were totally true, it’s not my problem. I’m not a romance publisher and I never will be.
But I’m a writer, which means that I can try to change the calculus from my side of the aisle.
I can do this in two ways: I can read romance and think critically about it. As with all literary genres, there is a broad and ongoing conversation across the Internet. There is critical, careful thinking about romance stories and writers, there is serious attention being given to dissection and discussion of the medium. And I can join that conversation. I can add a man’s voice to the current (I like to think that’s what I’m doing here). I can learn the genre as a discipline, become familiar with the old stalwarts and the young turks who are pushing the envelope. I can find romance’s George R. R. Martin’s and Paolo Bacigalupis. I can analyze trends and be hip to new ones as they form. I am already discovering that the more directly erotic stuff appeals to me a bit less than “single title” story heavy romances.
As with science-fiction and fantasy, I prefer novel length work to short stories. I am developing preferences/tastes in genre, and that’s the first step towards coming to fully understanding it.
And I can write romance, once I have learned my craft and am steeped deeply enough in the genre to know what I’m doing. Right now, I’m in the reading/learning phase, immersing myself in the genre, respecting it, trying to understand it, putting in the ground- work necessary to understand it. Once I feel I’m ready (likely at least a few years from now), I will begin my first tentative attempts to write it, building confidence slowly to the point where I feel I can tackle the barrier and write my own romance using a male name, and with a male’s author photo on the inside of the back jacket.
It’ll be a long trip and a lot of work, but if what I’m reading right now is any indicator, it’ll be well, well worth it.
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer.Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the dead, and set everything they touch ablaze.Army officer Oscar Britton sees the worst of it. A lieutenant attached to the military’s Supernatural Operations Corps, his mission is to bring order to a world gone mad. Then he abruptly manifests a rare and prohibited magical power, transforming him overnight from government agent to public enemy number one.The SOC knows how to handle this kind of situation: hunt him down–and take him out. Driven into an underground shadow world, Britton is about to learn that magic has changed all the rules he’s ever known, and that his life isn’t the only thing he’s fighting for.
Three lucky commenters will win a copy of Myke Cole’s book Shadow Ops: Control Point. So – what’re your thoughts? Do you know any guys who read romances? :X Do I have any male blog readers? (I have to admit I’d be surprised and totally jazzed about that.)