Saturday, February 25, 2006

What Keeps Us Coming...

... back for more? (Not that! I'm talking romance novels here.)

I’ve been reading romances for a very long time now. Started out with the sweet, traditional Harlequin/Silhouette books (Betty Neels, Diana Palmer) where the hero was older, experienced and, especially with Diana Palmer’s books, sometimes downright mean to the heroine, who was usually young and naïve and inexperienced. (I still haven’t figured out how those heroines ended up falling in love with those heroes when they were such jerks, but they did.) I moved on to Linda Howard, Iris Johannson, Dara Joy, Catherine Coulter, JD Robb, and many others.

Now I’m reading (and writing) erotic romance—stories where the love scenes are hot and explicit. Did I mention hot? I read lots of paranormal and most of what I write ends up with a paranormal element to it, even if I haven’t exactly planned it. (But, then I tend to be a pantser, and not a plotter, so sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s gonna happen!) I’m reading Angela Knight, Mary Janice Davidson, Lora Leigh, Michelle Pillow and Mandy Roth, to name a few. I’m starting to wade through (and I mean that in the nicest way!) the authors here at LSB. What I’ve read so far (from Rae Morgan, Paige Burns, Dakota Cassidy and, of course, my buddy Jenna Howard—and I still have more authors to go) will keep me coming back for more.

Whether it’s sweet and traditional, or spicy and not-so-traditional, romance is about fantasy. A way to escape from the every day drudge that our lives can turn into. According to, the top female sexual fantasy is the “rape fantasy”. Or as romance writers call it, the forced seduction.

The article does state "The reason fantasies are so cherished is because the majority of them will never be realized." This means that while women might fantasize a forced seduction, they don’t WANT a forced seduction. I might fantasize that a tall, dark and handsome vampire will sweep me off my feet to be his eternal love, but if it ever really happened I’d probably pee my pants. Or do something else in my pants. (It’s like Bill Cosby says. If you’re in an accident, it doesn’t matter if you have on clean underwear, ’cause there’s gonna be an accident.)

This idea of a fantasy, the “never be realized”… is this why paranormal stories sell so well? Because while supernatural powers can seem sexy, I'd say that most of us don't really want to meet up with a sexy, immortal bloodsucker. We might fantasize about a wild man who will call us HIS and want to 'mate for life', but what would you really do if some guy got all snarly and growly when another man looked at you? (My heroines might be kickass. I am not. Like I said, there’s gonna be an accident.)

It’s pretty much the same with the old historical romances with pirates and outlaw cowboys. And maybe why so many of the newer erotic stories feature dominant/submissive role-playing. A strong, handsome man will take control and we don’t have to worry about anything anymore. No more bills, no more work, no more anything.

What is it about romances that brings readers back for more? For me, it's two-fold. When I read a romance, I fully expect the happily ever after or at least the promise of one. But it's also the fantasy aspect of it all. The whole escape into someone else’s life or world while I read.

What about you? Why do you read romances?

(And because I just can't seem to help myself, here's some eye candy. How-deeee! I'll take that six-shooter. Either one of 'em!! LOL)

Zodiac: Pisces available now!

Sherrill Quinn

Romance With An Edge Website | Blog
Indulge Authors - Website | Blog


Blogger Robin49 said...

I read romances for lots of reasons. It is the escape. I don't watch much tv and you can only crochet and clean so much. LOL.

I was the oldest child and always felt responsible for my siblings and so it kept me grounded and I was never adventurous. My husband is a bit of a gentle man. Well, I always win the aurguments because I'm always right you know. He pretty much gives me what ever I want. Of course I know our finances so I wouldn't even think about asking for something we couldn't afford. Hey maybe he needs a better paying job so I could get those things we can't afford. LOL.

So I read romances mainly because I like the thought of a fantasy guy with a great body, knowing and wanting to please a woman to the fullest and takes charge. Most of the time money isn't an issue and you never read about cleaning or laundry needing to be washed. LOL. It's an escape from reality for awhile where you can live a fantasy for awhile.

I reserve the right to come back and add if someone else post something that sounds like a good reason. LOL.


9:07 AM  
Blogger Sherrill Quinn said...

Hiya, Peaches! Isn't it interesting how you just don't read about the mundane, every day things in most romances? The women always seem to have silky smooth legs (and we never "see" them shave!), clean clothes and homes, etc. Well, it isn't called fiction for nothing! LOL

9:16 AM  
Blogger Tina Holland said...

I remember when I was teenage and my mom took me to The Ben Franklin - a five and dime store. And I picked up a bodice ripper - Savage something...I begged her to buy it for me...she rolled her eyes and agreed. Over the course of the years, I've read many romance novels. The one thing I've noticed in all of them...there was love, the herione loved the hero and the hero loved the herione (even if it took him long enough to admit it). My mother's firm belief at the time was that reading anything was better than sitting in front of a TV. Her decision to let me have my way created a ideal of how love should be, that misunderstandings occur and that you should be able to resolve almost anything by talking. As I grew up heriones became stronger and less willing to settle and so did I. I don't think that was a bad thing.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Sherrill Quinn said...

Nowadays, when people roll their eyes at romance books, I wish they understood what you do, Tina. Romance novels shows us how it *could* be--and gives us a road map, if you will. And it's something we all can have--if we're willing to work for it.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Sherrill Quinn said...

I've got to take off for my local RWA meeting, but I'll be back this afternoon. In the meantime, let me know what you think about romances!

11:12 AM  
Blogger Paige Burns said...

Morning Sherrill! Thanks for the name drop!

I found modern romance books a little later in life, I'd say mid-20's. I grew up on a steady diet of the classics, Bronte, Austen, and Alcott and I always wished the romance was more in those books. But they were also all masters at subtly and hints to imagining more.

When I'd blown through all those I was regulated to the Christian fiction books, Janette Oke and Judith Pella style which were good, but not quite what I needed.

Then came the fantasy books, Anthony, Brooks, etc. Devoured them, all with hints of romance but nothing more.

It wasn't until after the birth of my second monster that I was able to start reading full time again and I found ebooks and erotica! Eureka! What I'd been searching for all along! A Regency with SEX, A Western with SEX, A Fantasy with SEX!

Why do I keep coming back? SEX! No, lol, not really. I like the escapism of reading. If I'm really in a book I turn into The Never Ending Story where I'm there watching the hero take down the bad guy, that's how I've always read. But I've found some of the best book I've ever read in e-books/erotica and not being biased, at LSB. :)

11:21 AM  
Blogger Pamk said...

I started reading romances when i was young around 12 or 13. My grandmother loved to read harlequin romances and I can remember many nights listening to her talk to, laugh at, and fuss with the characters in the books she read. And I wanted to try them so she let me and I was immediately hooked. It was an escape and I could go anywhere in the world and do anything I wanted through books. I'm very much like you Sherrill I went from the harlequin to Kathleen Woodriss, Johanna Lindsey, and then on to the paranormal and/or scifi books. I remember in my later teens trying to read scif I loved the books but couldn't get over that the hero and heroines didn't always or seldom get a HEA. And I thought that sucked so when romances started towards that trend of paranormal scifi I was estactic. And I alway like the steamier romance better and now with erotica that is just perfect. I really love ebooks cause they push the limit and you can find an ebook about any subject.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Y. said...

I started reading romances when I was about 13 with a Julie Garwood book and I was hooked!

I read romances as an escape from the real world and because they almost always can guarantee me a happily ever after (something that real life doesn't always offer). Through romances I can experience things that I might not get to experience in real life, such as locations, time periods, events, etc. Through a book I can go anywhere and do anything.

Thanks for the eye candy!

2:37 PM  
Blogger snowflake said...

I read romance for escape and for the assured HEA ending. It makes me feel good to meet protagonists I care about, see them drawn inevitably to each other, growing closer with each conflict/obstacle they overcome, and end up happily ever after.

It's nice to fantasize temporarily that men like romance novel heroes exist--great lovers with incredible stamina, financially secure and always desire the heroine whatever her state of cleanliness, makeup or dressing.

I've always enjoyed romance that are steamy and emotional so I'm thrilled about the surge in erotic romance.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Jaynie R said...

I don't know - I think it's the escape from reality, same reason I read anything...and the entertainment value of course.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Sherrill Quinn said...

I finally made it home from my RWA group meeting--which lasted 1 1/2 hours over! Good stuff, but that's a long time to sit on a not-so-comfortable chair. :)

Paige: It's so true about the escapism factor. If the book is well-written, it's like you say, being part of The Neverending Story.

Pam: Like you, I enjoy sci fi, fantasy and paranormal, but I find that I really like romances the best. Give me a romance with any of those other elements, and I'm a happy camper!

Jennifer: It is nice to read a romance set in Italy or Ireland or some other far away place. It helps take us out of the problems of our own lives for awhile.

Jenny: I'm with you on that assured HEA. Anytime I've taken the time to read a romance all the way through and the hero and heroine didn't get their happily ever after (or at least the promise of one), I've felt very cheated. Thankfully, that's happened very rarely. :)

Jaynie: Escape and entertainment. That should be our motto, right? LOL

5:11 PM  

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