Thursday, April 06, 2006

Cheesy and predictable

I've said before that my favorite reviews (of my novels) tend to be those written by individuals who protest loudly that they do not read the kind of books I write. There's always a great ego boost for me in the discovery that I've caused yet another of the skeptics to abandon his or her prejudices and actually enjoy reading a romance novel. You should see me punch my fist into the air and laugh every time one of you writes, I never read romance, so I was shocked to find myself really liking your book. But while it's tempting to believe it was my great writing that finally hooked you and dragged you into the romance boat, the reality is probably that you were nursing a number of misconceptions about the genre before you started reading my book.

Yeah, okay, there are some bad romance novels out there. But maybe you shouldn't dismiss the entire genre just because you read a bad romance novel twenty years ago, or just because your "literary" friends love to make fun of them.

I'm delighted that my blog has such a wide audience. Not all of you are romance readers or Christians, but we still have a lot of fun together. I'm guessing it's the fact that I don't take myself too seriously that makes so many of you curious enough to pick up my book. It tickles me that virtually all of you have liked it quite a lot or even "loved" it. (I am aware of just one of my non-romance-reading blog friends who honestly didn't enjoy it.)

While it's tempting to believe my fantastic writing is making converts of you all, the truth is probably that I'm merely a competent writer, and you've been cherishing quite a lot of wrong ideas about romance novels, and when I talk you into trying one, you're confronted with the truth that reading a romance can be, well, fun.

I've just come across yet another of those delightful I-can't-believe-I-just-read-an-entire-romance-novel-and-didn't-even-barf reviews. Take a look at this post by Trina Pink of A Penny's Worth:

I faithfully read Brenda Coulter’s blog, No Rules. Just Write. I love her outlook on life, and she's funny too, without being mean. Plus, she writes books, and you know I love books!

Unfortunately, she writes inspirational romances, which you know I would never read.... But addicted I am to her writing, and now her bad influence has led me to read three (count ‘em, three) inspirational romances, the latest of which was her novel, A Family Forever.

Ah. I love the sound of prejudices hitting the pavement after being dropped from a great height.

A few paragraphs later, this pulled a laugh out of me:

Oh, dear. I’m doing it again. Being sarcastic See, cheesy, predictable plots just make me squirm. And if I could just say I hated the book, I could say it proudly! That’s what I expected to think, and I would have politely kept quiet about having read the book at all, ostensibly to save Brenda’s reputation (I really like her blog) but mostly to save face with all my intelligent, sophisticated readers.

But I can’t say that. Because I loved it. I moved into Tucker and Shelby’s darling stone cottage, bustled around in the kitchen and just purred. Well, actually, when Tucker came into the kitchen, it was more like a “Mrowwrrrr!”

Poor Trina. How valiantly she struggled, to no avail:

So here’s the sum: my sarcasm? It’s just indicative that I’m a lot more sentimental than I want to admit. I loved the book. I loved every page of it.

I know there are a lot more skeptics where Trina came from. I wonder how many more of them will be gutsy enough to pick up my book and risk falling for an inspirational romance story.


Katrina Stonoff said...


Dang! I didn't think you'd even see that review, and here I clicked onto your blog today to see "Cheesy and Predictable* as the title. Not only has one of my favorite authors discovered my review, you pulled out the most negative thing I said as the title! Ouch!


But I have to comment about this:
<< while it's tempting to believe it was my great writing that finally hooked you and dragged you into the romance boat, the reality is probably that you were nursing a number of misconceptions about the genre before you started reading my book.>>

Nah. It was Tucker. MROWWRRR!!!

*digging a hole to crawl into*

Brenda Coulter said...

Aha! So you're Trina Pink. Now you're well and truly outed, aren't you?

Lo, how the mighty art fallen.


pacatrue said...

I love your marketing abilities, Brenda. Throwing down the gauntlet on us, aren't you? Good work.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I read 'cause you write very there! LOL!

Brenda Coulter said...

Indeed I am throwing down the gauntlet, Paca. Are you going to pick it up? [Snicker.]

Bonnie, thanks. As always.

pacatrue said...

Hey, I looked for it a few days ago at a B&N but couldn't come up with it. If I get it and read it all the way through, I will be sure to yell. I've only successfully finished two romances in my life. One was Pride and Prejudice; the other was a romance by Karin Kallmaker. I tried one of my wife's Nora Roberts but didn't make it. Then I tried a Stefanie Laurens, but didn't make it. So if I read A Family Forever, you will have beaten some pretty big names.

Brenda Coulter said...

Gee, I'm honored that you would even consider it. ;-)

That's odd, that you couldn't find it at B&N. I just did a title search, but didn't come up with it. Searching for my name, however, brings it up. Weird. Here's the page.

Dabbling Mum said...

I was reintroduced to romance novels this year myself.

I had stopped some time back when every one I picked up had sexually explicit scenes and I couldn't tell which were and which weren't.

Then I got hooked into reading how-to books and never looked at another romance or any other kind of novel for years...I'd say 15 to be exact. (Yet, I'd watch chick flicks like crazy!)

Then this year, I was given a romance to review and I have to say that I really love Christian romance! All the good stuff without the junk! What could be better?

Brenda Coulter said...

Mum, there are a lot of romances that don't contain graphic sex scenes--and I'm not just talking about inspirational romances. But as you suggest, it's not always easy to figure out whether you're buying a steamy book or not. The covers aren't always good guides.