Monday, April 5, 2010

Why Mills & Boon still make the ladies swoon (according to the Irish Independent website)...

There's nothing that makes my day as a Mill & Boon author quite the same as an article filled with falsehoods and a blatant lack of research on the part of the person writing said article. The fact that the article is written under the banner of a respected newspaper in my own country, making the writer but two CHEAP phone calls away from authors who KNOW what they're talking about, makes it worse.

Let's take a closer look at what Patricia Casey had to say about the books in her online article for the Irish Independent, shall we?

Under the title of "Mind & Meaning: Why Mills & Boon still make the ladies swoon".

Having started the article by telling us how her mother didn't want her to read Mills & Boon, Ms. Casey then goes on to inform us that she still doesn't know why. Asking would seem to be the logical solution to that problem. Reading a few and making up her own mind would seem to me - at the very least - to have been necessary before writing an article on the content of the books. I don't know what it's called in journalistic circles, but in the world of a Mills & Boon author it's called RESEARCH. As in:

Research: To study (something) thoroughly so as to present in a detailed, accurate manner.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's start with:

"The recent arrival of electronic reading devices has led to a huge surge in the downloading of Mills & Boon books. Apparently, ashamed to be seen carrying a paper copy, the 30-somethings have taken to downloading them onto their electronic readers, so avoiding embarrassment."
Is that why people read books on electronic reading devices? EVERY book downloaded onto an electronic device is done so to avoid the embarrassment of revealing the cover of our reading material in public, is it? I'm willing to bet it's not. So what we're doing is starting the article by saying we've never read a Mills & Boon and that 30-somethings who do MUST be downloading them to avoid public humiliation. I'm optimistic about a detailed, accurate article already...

"Even though the Mills & Boon group almost went out of business on several occasions, they have shown enduring resilience, and according to recent statistics more than 140,000 stories were downloaded digitally while 400,000 were bought through Amazon in the past year. The digital era has undoubtedly facilitated this expansion."
Yep, nothing at all to do with an increased need for escapism from real life due to the economic climate and the pressures people are facing on a daily basis. The same upsurge wasn't seen in the 1920's, was it? Undoubtedly the fact the digital era has allowed Mills & Boon readers to avoid public embarrassment has MUCH more to do with it.

"Why are these formulaic books so popular? This in itself is one of the reasons -- they are predictable."

In the same way a Murder/Mystery is formulaic and predictable? A Sci-Fi? Every genre has basic commonalities. In a romance, two people meet and the story follows their journey as they fall in love. Dan Brown's best-sellers have a trail of clues the hero follows through to a dramatic ending. Patricia Cornwell's books have gruesome murders the heroine has to solve, hopefully before the killer strikes again. Newsflash: People choose the books they want to read based on the fact they'll get what they want from their reading experience. There are basic formulas and yes, there is predictability in EVERY genre of fiction. So how come I'm not seeing the same criticism aimed at all the other genres of fiction? Seems to me, writing to any kind of a basic 'formula' in a romance doesn't seem to have harmed the market any more than it has the other genres. Don't believe me? Well apparently I'm not the only one wants to read the same 'formulaic' and 'predictable' plot time and time again in a romance. Thanks to Google in the name of that little thing called 'research', I can even look at some facts via the Romance Writers Of America site.

According to Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2009 romance fiction was the largest share of the consumer market in 2008 at 13.5 percent. Simba Information estimates the breakdown on the market as:

  • Romance fiction: $1.37 billion in estimated revenue for 2008
  • Religion/inspirational: $800 million
  • Mystery: $668 million
  • Science fiction/fantasy: $551 million
  • Classic literary fiction: $446 million
That's an awful lot of people reading the exact same book over and over and over again. But let's move on to the content of the books, shall we?

"The hero is tall and handsome with a thick mop of hair; the heroine has a sylph-like attractiveness, and is never overweight."
I do love a sweeping generalization. Especially when it involves 60+ book releases a month from a pool of 1,300 authors worldwide. The heroine is never overweight? An article in The Guardian says otherwise. How can I be sure? Possibly because I was interviewed for it:

"The new approach to chick lit has gained such a following in America that Mills & Boon has even given it a name – "bigger chick lit" – and has published two books in the new format: Last-Minute Proposal by Jessica Hart and His LA Cinderella by Trish Wylie.

"All women have body-image issues, no matter how slim they are," said Wylie. "The ultimate fantasy for most women today is simply accepting themselves, whatever their body weight. That's what we, as authors, are responding to."

Jenny Hutton, editor of modern romance for Mills & Boon, said the new chick lit heroine was a woman with whom the reader could genuinely empathise. "Through the journey taken by this new breed of heroine, the discovery is made that it's not weight that was the issue behind her lack of self-esteem."

But let's not let a little thing like FACTS get in the way, shall we? Moving on, from Ms. Casey we get:

"The hero may be a doctor, pilot or a billionaire while the heroine is a nurse, air hostess or poverty-stricken beauty."

Maybe in the 1950's, but apparently Ms. Casey got her information from someone who was unaware we had a recent change of century. The HEROINE of my June 2009 book was a pilot. My heroines have been photographers, writers, interior designers, news reporters, chef's, art appraisers, hotel managers and yes, they've been school teachers and single parents too. Their professions have been as diverse as they are in real life. As diverse as some of the varying jobs I, myself had prior to becoming an author. As for poverty-stricken - yes, there have been heroines who struggled financially - find me someone in real life who HASN'T experienced that at one time or another; particularly NOW.

But maybe I'm mistaken in thinking Ms. Casey's view of modern day Mills & Boon books is both out-dated and factually incorrect. Let's read on and see...

"He (the hero) saves lives through his psychological prowess and is always considerate and insightful. She (the heroine), on the other hand, is gentle and supportive."
Let me just check back over my nineteen books in print with Mills & Boon to make sure my heroes and heroines fit this description...

It's amazing I ever sold! None of my heroes have EVER saved a life, particularly not through psychological prowess. Always considerate and insightful? As someone who has spent half her writing career answering to the statement of ONE AUTHOR who decades ago said her heroes had to be capable of rape, I'm going to ask the critics of Mills & Boon to make up their minds! Either our heroes are considerate and insightful, saving lives with the power of their minds, or they're inconsiderate, brutish bastards, capable of rape. But again with the sweeping generalization, let's not get in the way of those. Same goes for my heroine's. Gentle and supportive? More likely to point out the error of the hero's ways, thank you very much. But even if they weren't, are gentle and supportive considered weaknesses in a woman these days? Are they weaknesses in ANYONE?

"There are specific categories to facilitate the reader in making a suitable choice: medical romances are peopled entirely by doctor/nurse couplings but these never involve a male nurse and a female doctor, while the international drama series is set in exotic locations. "

We got a fact right! There are 'specific' categories, well done! I'd have said it was more about allowing the reader a VARIETY of choice, but maybe that's just me. Having mentioned there are choices - suggesting DIFFERENT KINDS OF STORIES - how many of the eleven odd categories listed on the Mills & Boon website do we mention? Two. Maybe it was a word-count restriction. So, let's look at the two we mentioned, the first being Medicals which, apparently, are 'peopled entirely by doctor/nurse couplings'.

From the back of Medical Romance books released in April/May 2010 and currently available at the click of a curious mouse on the Mills & Boon website, we have:

"A&E doctor Olivia mourned the loss of her soldier hero husband two years ago, although there was a tiny part of her that believed he was still alive..." ~ Her Long Lost Husband by Josie Metcalf.

"Outback Flying Doctor Phemie Grainger prides herself on being cool, calm and capable – until a chance encounter with her professional idol, renowned emergency doctor Gil Fitzwilliam, throws her into turmoil..." ~ A Baby For The Flying Doctor by Lucy Clark.

"Single dad Dr Luke Daniels has come home to heal his heart. Dr Terri Mitchell remembers Luke from growing up in Port Cavill..." ~ Bachelor Dad, Girl Next Door by Sharon Archer.

But Medical Romance's are 'peopled entirely by doctor/nurse couplings', right? Where the man is the doctor and the woman the nurse. There are NEVER any female doctors. Heroes who aren't doctors at all, heroines who aren't in the medical profession, heroes AND heroines who are BOTH doctors? Nope. None of them. Don't be silly. And discovering that fact took so much work!

As for the 'international drama series' which is 'set in exotic locations', I'm assuming we're talking about the Modern Romance line, not that it was named. Kind of depends on your definition of 'exotic', though. For a reader living in London, a story set in London might not seem all that exotic. For a reader living in Sydney, a story set in Sydney might not seem all that exotic, and so on... International is accurate. Glamorous would have been correct too. Might have been simpler to go with Mills & Boon's description of books that are: 'Set against a backdrop of luxury, wealth and international locations.' But since naming the line and quoting from the publishers website falls under the realms of research...

"The denouement in the story comes when the hero gently tells his heroine of his love for her as he bends to kiss her tenderly but fulsomely on the lips. She reluctantly submits and a spark within her acknowledges her previously denied attraction to this tower of masculinity. Wedding bells then follow."
Was this after he saved her from an oncoming train by untying her from the railway tracks with his 'psychological prowess'? In my seven years of writing romance, I can honestly say I've never had a hero kiss a heroine 'fulsomely on the lips'. Can't remember ever reading that description either. The heroine 'reluctantly submits' to her 'previously denied attraction to this tower of masculinity'? Hasn't been a whole heap of denying going on in my Modern Heat books. Or reluctant submission for that matter. And heaven forbid a woman should be happy the man she loves, loves her too! What woman could possibly want THAT?

"Feminists have castigated these books for stereotyping women into particular roles. They claim that although there has been some evolution in the female characters over time, the constant portrayal of women as passive and submissive is unacceptable."

Constant portrayal. Wouldn't that be another sweeping generalization? Considering this article is chock-a-block with the same uninformed, patronizing tone I've read before from the kind of feminists who haven't - and wouldn't be seen DEAD - reading a Mills & Boon, I'm finding it a tad hard to care what they think any more than they care what I think (unless it matches up with what they think, I should think). I always thought a huge part of the feminist movement was a woman's right to freedom of choice. As a modern, independent woman I'm no more going to have my reading preferences dictated to me by a card-carrying feminist, uninformed journalist or a literary snob, than I am anyone - be it female or male. Has Ms. Casey even taken the time to talk to Mills & Boon readers or writers? She might be surprised to discover what a diverse group of women we are, and with brains too! One could say we're as diverse as the books we read or write, but since ALL the books are the same...

"Strange, then, that their appeal persists in light of the progress made by women over the last century. "

Isn't it? One might wonder WHY? And, oh , I don't know, maybe ASK them? Considering this article is on a website, it might have been interesting to open it up to comment, but no, let's not do that either.

"One of the reasons may be that everybody needs escapism and while women now become presidents of countries and of banks, become diplomats and spies, the woman on the street identifies more with relationships and family than with professional success. "

I couldn't agree more with the part about escapism. But, just out of curiosity, do all those presidents of countries and banks, diplomats and spies, etc., who read murder/mystery novels do so because they identify with the need to murder someone?

"So a gentle love story, where the main players are good looking and thoughtful, holds more appeal than a literary classic exploring themes of lust, revenge and betrayal."
Because there are never any themes of lust, revenge or betrayal in a Mills & Boon...

"The fact that most titles are written by women for women adds to their accessibility."
Because women never read any books written by men. Because men never write romance novels. Because men never read romance novels. Because it's difficult for a woman to buy a book or get one out of the library unless it's written by another woman? Lord knows we all live in fear of being judged by the cover of the book we read. That's why so many people opt for electronic downloads, doncha know.

"A further appeal is the pro-forma style and content."
Because, thanks to intensive research, we've established they're all the same.

"In a complex and capricious world, a storyline that predictably culminates in a happy ending provides a degree of insulation against harsh reality and reassures the reader that good things can happen."

It hasn't insulated me from harsh reality. Neither has chocolate or a long soak in a bubble bath. That sucker is still there no matter what I do. Allows me to escape it for a while, yes, so does any book or film. Seems to me every story focusses on the human condition in some form or another, a romance novel just happens to concentrate on two people falling in love; something that happens all over the world, every single day. One would like to hope more often than a serial killer is on the loose, our planet is on the eve of destruction due to the arrival of an alien race, or we Muggles are in danger from Lord Voldemort. Am I holding out for a billionaire, pilot, doctor to come save me with his pyschological prowess and therefore a Mills & Boon insulates me from the harsh reality that he's just not out there? Not so much. Does it mean that sometimes the experiences of the characters resonate with me, make sense of something I've experienced or watched others going through and that I'm left with a sense of hope? Absolutely it does. Vitamin pills for the soul, as a reader of mine likes to say.

As it happens, I also like when the killer is caught at the end of a murder/mystery. I like it when entire universes are saved in a Sci-Fi. I like when the bad guy gets his comeuppance and the good guy gets his reward. I want certain things from certain books. Am I criticized for THAT? Are all of my reading choices looked down on as 'lesser' forms of fiction?If the so-called 'feminists' who criticize Mills & Boon had their way, the books would be burned in the streets. Now THERE'S modern thinking!

"The handsome men and exotic locations capture the imagination and give a glimpse of what life could be like, although most women also accept their escapist value."

Well, at least she thinks we (most of us, that is) know the difference between fantasy and reality. That's more than some Mills & Boon critics do.

"Better to tuck up in bed with a Mills & Boon than sit in a darkened room nursing a bottle of whiskey."

Those are your choices folks: Alcoholism or a romance novel. Romance readers of the world, beware!

If this article hadn't been so full of sweeping - and factually INCORRECT - generalizations and if Ms. Casey had given the impression she'd done any research into the subject, I'd probably have let it slide. Taking pot shots at romance readers and the romance genre is universally accepted as 'clever' after all, isn't it? There has to be a REASON why women read these books. It couldn't POSSIBLY be simply because they enjoy them. Where are the articles delving into the psyche of the murder/mystery reader or the Science Fiction/Fantasy reader or the reader of the literary 'greats'? What is missing in the lives of THOSE readers? What movement for the right to choice are they ignoring, setting us back by decades when it comes to progress?

When Mills & Boon celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2009, I was pleasantly surprised by the tone of the many articles that came out. Any publishing company that has survived the test of time surely deserves a modicum of respect for the achievement and it's ability to GROW in our current economic climate. There were documentaries and dramas onscreen and even a programme where a writer tried to pen a Mills & Boon book and found it more difficult than she'd anticipated. The brand is a 'soft target' for those trying to be clever or who approach the subject with a tongue-in-cheek attitude. In my opinion, the latter can be tolerated more easily than the former; we're used to being the butt of peoples' jokes, after all. Unfortunately this article attempts to fall into the former category. It might have come across as smarter if the writer had taken the time to do a Google search. Any idiot can do that these days, right?

I can't help but hope Ms. Casey's approach to becoming a Doctor involved more research than this article.

31 comments:

K.L. Townsend said...

There is so much wrong with that article I don't know where to begin. *I* can see it and my primary genre is NOT romance.

How dare you not fit into that neat little romance writer stereotype. You're obviously doing it wrong ;)

Abby Green said...

Ah Ms Wylie I do love it when you get the bit between your teeth!! Let's hope Ms Casey bothers to read this and I'd have to take an issue with your assertion that the Indo is a respectable paper (*cough* - rag)...!
You see tis so much easier to do an article based on so little fact that you don't even have to research it properly...think you need to write to the editor and offer to to an in depth piece for them, might even necessitate a wee trip to Dublin?!
x Abby

Rachael Johns said...

I'm so glad you posted this trollop! The writer should be ashamed of herself and I hope you somehow make sure she gets a copy of this brilliant blog post!

CAROLINE said...

Your link to the original story is broken ... had to search it out and read it and then read your blog post, just FYI. Well said, you.

Kate Walker said...

Well said Trish - like Abby I love it when you get the bit between your teeth (must be something to do with all those lovely horses you have)

At the same time, I'm almost wondering if such a short and silly article was worth the amount of time needed to refute it in such detail . . .almost. Because then I look at just *how many* things she managed to get wrong in - what - barely 750 words! That really must be something of a world record for bad, inaccurate and sheer lazy journalism.

Not that it surprises me - what does surprise me is that so many of us - you, me and Abby to start with, not to mention those authors you've cited who've obviously written the wrong sort of books entirely - still manage to get published somehow. Perhaps the readers who bought us had been nursing the whiskey bottle after all. ;o)

Ah well - why make do with one totally inaccurate generalisation, when you can write an article that is nothing but . . .

Kate - off back to writing gentle love story, where the main players are good looking and thoughtful, . .. Ooops - now where did those themes of lust, revenge and betrayal come from?

Monique DeVere said...

Hi, Trish,

I'm glad you didn't let the article slide. It annoys me when people--who couldn't write these books if their lives depended on it--try to put them down.

I once read an article where they said that Mills & Books books are great anti-depressants. I have to say there is a certain feel-good quality about romance books that you don't get from other genres.

Who wants to be reminded of misery when the whole world is so full of it?

I love romance stories. I write romance, and have no plans to ever change.

Hugs,
Monique

Sharon said...

Dear Trish
I love your take. Ms Casey needs to go back to cadet school with an old-fashioned mentor who's all about the research. I'd have probably managed not to laugh so loud at her comments if she'd even really bothered to read an M&B - it's so obvious that she didn't get the whole picture.

Thanks for taking it right up to her doorstop... I look forward to seeing if she's game to respond or wimps out and stays silent.

I love my M&B and have since I read my first one at the tender age of 15 (more years ago than I care to remember).

cheers
Sharon

Trish Wylie said...

I should probably have tossed my pink feathers over my shoulder and flounced away in outrage with my pink poodles at my side, K.L.. Maybe I'm just not gentle and understanding enough?

Trish Wylie said...

Been a while since I dragged out my soapbox, Abby. But really, would it have been so incredibly difficult to have spoken to one of us, or to have opened up the article to comment from Mills & Boon/Romance readers and authors?

Trish Wylie said...

It's really the worst 'article' I've read in YEARS, Rachel. And since no-one was given the right to reply on the Irish Independent site...

Trish Wylie said...

Thanks, Caroline, fixed now!

Trish Wylie said...

I wondered the exact same thing while writing it, Kate! No doubt, Ms. Casey will too. Apart from the glaring lack of anything resembling a balanced point of view, it was the lack of a right to reply on the website that forced my hand. But yes, as you say, it really must be something of a world record for bad, inaccurate and lazy journalism in such a small amount of words.

Trish Wylie said...

Hi Monique,

It always astounds me that a genre so loved by so many women all over the world, is considered such an 'easy target' for articles of this ilk. I don't ever expect to win the Nobel prize in Literature, but why, as a reader of romance for decades before becoming an author, should I have to defend my reading choices to anyone? There seem to be an abundance of 'knowledgable' people prepared to tell us how we should live our lives as modern, independent women and questioning the decisions they wouldn't make themselves when it comes to our choice of reading material. Personally, I am eternally grateful to the generations who fought for my right to choose and for freedom of speech. I intend to exercise those rights on a daily basis - particularly when presented with someone who clearly has no idea what they're talking about and is making assumptions on my behalf without ASKING for MY opinion.

Trish Wylie said...

Blatantly obvious, Sharon, wasn't it? It's completely laughable in places; particularly when it comes to the heroes and heroines. She plainly has ABSOLUTELY NO UNDERSTANDING of the books or the women who read them.

Abby Green said...

I was considering writing a letter to the paper but was overcome with apathy at the thought. Where would you even begin?
x Abby

Trish Wylie said...

I read it, let it mull for a while (or fester as the case may be), read it again, Tweeted it and then opinionated me refused to let it go without a cathartic Blog on the subject. Maybe it just needs to fester - I mean mull - for a while with you too, Abby?

I wondered if I felt the need to reply more because it was so incorrect, because they hadn't allowed a right to reply or because it was from a source so close to home. I reckon it was probably a combination of all the above. Well... that and the fact I'm between chapters at the minute ;)

Monya Clayton said...

Trish - My comment would strongly resemble Monique's. I would add that a male someone said to me when my first book came out: "You don't write those things, do you?" I'm not a M & B author but you know what I mean!

Here in Australia we recently enjoyed (?) an online discussion about a segment on the T.V. program Sunrise, somewhat similar in content to Ms Casey's article. And somewhat similar in their approach - romance books, particularly M & B, are fair game for a good-humoured giggle and put-down!

If you'd like to know more about that little gem, do contact www.romanceaustralia.com , the website for Romance Writers Australia. (There are quite a lot of us!) The online group is Romaus.

Thanks for a very interesting read!

Nicki Flockton said...

Great comeback Trish! I get so annoyed when these articles come out. I will say that I'm downloading electronic books more now because I've moved to Houston Texas and it's easier for me to have all these books and not have to pack them all up when I move back to Australia. They are all stored on a little SD Card!

Maybe the increase is also because 'ereaders' are extremely popular and the 'in' thing at the moment.

I've never been ashamed to read my Mill & Boon on the bus when I used to catch it to work!

Donna Alward said...

Bit between your teeth indeed!

She'd be very disappointed to learn, I suppose, that my next Mills and Boon release has an overweight heroine. Or that my current one has a disabled hero. Or that I've written heroines who run their own businesses and careers, rather than waiting to be rescued.

As for feminism, you're dead on when it's about the right to choose - no matter what that choice is. You can't argue feminism and then chide someone because their taste in literature isn't the same as yours. I like to think my heroines are feminists too - not a one of them is prepared to settle for less than they deserve. And that includes in matters of the heart.

H&K's,

Donna

Abby Green said...

No - you did brilliantly and I just hope that woman sees your blog, what's making me reluctant to write to the Indo also is that I just don't rate it as a paper - I'm an Irish Times girl, and they would never publish badly researched drivel like that. Think you need to ping a little email to the journo in question with your blog attached, ha!
xx Abby

Claire Baxter said...

Don't these lazy journalists and newspaper editors ever take a moment to consider that they are insulting a large proportion of their audience when they publish drivel like this?

Thanks, Trish, for your considered response to an atrocious article.

Claire

mindmap1 said...

Hi Trish

What was Ms Casey thinking...or...er perhaps not thinking?

I've read plenty of articles regarding M&B, but usually they're reasonably balanced. Or at least make an attempt to be balanced. What's the matter with the woman? Was her broadband connection down, or hasn't she ever heard of Google?

Its perfectly obvious she didn't speak to anyone at M&B or an author or (even more importantly) a READER to find out why she spends her hard earned cash on 'trash' and I wonder why this was? Perhaps because the 'facts' may not have gelled with her own personal prejudice?

I won't rant further, because Trish, you do it so much better than I can. I wonder if Ms Casey realises how many millions of readers she's offended by her ignorance, lack of tolerance and lack of grace?

Christine Carmichael

CAROLINE said...

Trish, since the article didn't accept comments, why don't you offer to write a counter point article for the Independent? Write the editor. I bet they'd say yes. You know you want to '-) If only to expose Patricia Casey as the lazy sarky cow of a half-arsed writer she is.

Michelle Styles said...

Trish --

YOu should contact the editor. It is very wrong of them. My blood pressure was sky high yesterday when someone passed along the article.
People are allowed their own opinions, but they should also do factual research.
More 18-35s are downloading romance probably because they are the age most likely to have ereaders...
And I wonder when M&B nearly went out of business...As far as I am aware it has been fairly rock solid for years. I had never seen that particular remark before and normally I would have picked up on that...

Penn said...

OH GOOD LORD!! I've been an avid reader my whole life, I've had people put me down for being a genre reader (not just romance -- they think I should read "real" literature).

Ummm . . . I just finished Donna's FALLING FOR MR DARK & DANGEROUS and hello, the heroine is 42, raised her cousin and her daughter as a single mom after being widowed young, runs her own business . . .

I tweeted to you about the Medical Romance I read a few years ago in which the heroine was the doctor and the hero was the nurse . . .

Should we tell that woman about Mary Burchell, who wrote from the '30s into the '80s and used her M&B income to save 29 Jews from the Nazis and was doing it up until one or two weeks before the war broke out and she couldn't do it anymore? (Irish Independent idiot can read Burchell's autobiography in WE FOLLOWED OUR STARS, reprinted in '08 as SAFE PASSAGE) Whose heroines, while always being tied to their class and times as far as occupation, were strong women (can a woman as strong as Burchell write a weak heroine?).

Ummm . . . yeah, glad you took it apart point by point, b/c I have glaring examples for each point, too, and really should be finishing up our taxes.

As for the eBook downloads . . . avid readers don't want to run out of reading material when they are out and about. I cannot tell you how many of the regulars in my threads at eHarleuqin.com talk about how glad they were to have their reader with them so they could choose what to read next while standing in line or waiting at the doc's office. Finished with current book? About a hundred others to choose from now . . . and it's not just the younger people. Older people like the readers because they don't need reading glasses! :)

Male romance writers? Gill (Roger) Sanderson, Wayne Jordan, Ken Casper, Devon Vaughn Archer, Tony with the long Greek name :), Keith Walker (new, not Harlequin, but still a dude), one half of Lucy Lucy Lucy, why is their name escaping me? Australian medrom writers, Lucy and Peter . . . ummm one half of Hannah Alexander and I know I'm forgetting some. They don't even hide that they're men anymore (which I LOVE!).

Older heroines? Well, Donna's was older than the hero, even, but Jessica Hart had several books out a few years ago in which the heroines ranged in age from mid-thirties to mid/late forties. All keeper books. I think in all those instances the hero was approximately the same age.

I'm getting off the soapbox now since you did such a great job Trish.

To all the authors, love your work. Am so glad you all have people living in your heads and you can get it out on paper! And I'm not going to apologize for being a genre reader.

Oh, and one last thing. I check this blog every Saturday morning and find it interesting. It looks at romance from an academic POV. techmetonight.blogspot.com Just something for you all to know about if it also interests you.

Penn

Victoria John Richards said...

I do not have anything to add that these lovely ladies haven't already said so I'll just shout:

GO TRISH!!

Romy said...

Thank you so much for writing this blog post.

Insulting 'closet' romance readers is a little dangerous. If they're in the closet, then you never know how many Independent readers also read romance ...

Romance readers and writers of the world unite!

mindmap1 said...

Ms Casey needs a written spanking - and I know just the woman to deliver it! Trish?

Christine x

Debra St. John said...

GREAT rebuttal, Trish.

Hats off to you!

Sally Clements said...

I'm so cross I can't even write. My fingers are speechless. Grrrr...

Nina in Ohio said...

Well said Trish! As I run to my bottle of whiskey, I will continue to indulge my escapist fantasies and read another gentle love story featuring my handsome lover with fulsome lips.

There must be an awful lot of us deluded ladies out there if the romance genre is such a best seller....

PS Ms. Casey, any GOOD writer knows that research is essential, whether writing fiction or non-fiction.