Let’s Talk Romance Novels…

  1. Bob Mayer says:

    Yeah yeah. Women and romance novels. Psshhww.

    I like hot dogs. No condiments.

  2. Nancy says:

    The author’s assumptions are exactly as shallow as he claims romance books to be! There’s a reason the romance books are fiction. Fiction books let us dream, hope, cry, laugh, and imagine. Thank God you get that!

  3. Sue Hargreaves says:

    Well said! Unless you actually read the stories you miss the humor, one liners, and much more that goes into them. I work in a job that frequently has a sad ending so I only read books and watch movies with happy endings. A full course meal is always presented 😉

  4. Karen L says:

    When I first read his article this morning, the first thing I thought was how rude it was for him to be stalking her to see what she was reading. And, if it would have been the New York Times, would he have had to get a closer look to see if she was reading a political, business, or society article?

    I can assume that he could be a wonderful character in any number of romance novels, perhaps not the hero, but some misguided male that comes across the perfect female that tries to teach him some manners and the meaning of life. Then our heroine could decide he wasn’t really worthy enough of her effort and could leave him to find someone else.

    It makes me wonder if he is married. If so, his wife may want to let him borrow her Kindle and read some of her books. He could use the research…

  5. Rhonda says:

    You rock! Well done! I wonder what he reads. Maybe he was venting bc his spouse spends more time swooning over a romance book than him. LOL Or maybe the hotdogs boiled over while she was reading! Ha!

  6. Heather Long says:

    Well said. The argument could be applied to anything we as a people enjoy that is purely for ‘entertainment’ whether it’s sports, movies, music, or eek gasp going for a walk. Romance is escapism, sure, but it’s also a window to another life, another set of choices, another set of possibilities…for me, I’ve always equated reading (and writing) as a gateway to endless wonder.

    Period.

  7. Martha Lawton says:

    It is a good thing he writes for the organization he does…. They probably haven’t read any of his articles for content. Obviously he is a pompous arrogant man who judges most people as inferior to him. You would think he would understand the statistics he quoted as meaning he is all wrong. It is sad for him that he is so out of touch with real women. HEA makes the day to day grind when I am tired or displeased or worried easier to handle…

  8. Luxie Ryder says:

    Great article. Loved your response. This reminds me of the time I had an argument with a Daily Mail reader (DM is a narrow minded British newspaper for those who are fortunate enough not to have heard of it). One of the women commenting told me that she thinks men are buying our books for their wives as a way of getting them to ‘dip their toe in the porn pool’! I told her if she believes that, then she no longer recognises the world she is living in.

    • Luxie Ryder says:

      I should clarify, she said this because I told her our sales disproved her point about how women did not want to read ‘that kind of thing’. She claimed that it was mostly men buying them, not women.

  9. Abbi Wilder says:

    Excellent post, Jen. When I read, I look not only for the experience but I like to learn something. And, IMHO, romance can’t be defined by a book but by the individual(s). Not everyone is the same.

    Abbi 🙂

  10. Marti says:

    Jennifer,
    The person who wrote this article I.obviously on crack and you just can’t cure stupid! The sales alone should tell the idiot that we, the readers, love what you, the writer, can do. It’s discouraging to think people can be so ignorant and have the power to write an article full of b.s. Cheers to you and your talent and the joy your work brings so many of us. I for one, greatly appreciate you and so many others on my book shelf. Marti P

  11. Marti says:

    Jennifer,
    The person who wrote this article is obviously on crack and you just can’t cure stupid! The sales alone should tell the idiot that we, the readers, love what you, the writer, can do. It’s discouraging to think people can be so ignorant and have the power to write an article full of b.s. Cheers to you and your talent and the joy your work brings so many of us. I for one, greatly appreciate you and so many others on my book shelf. Marti P

  12. Nickie Adler says:

    Ok I am also fuming. First of all I am very happy with the woman that I am. I love to read this genre because I find it empowers me! It makes me feel sexy and appealing! Those who write comments like that, in my view, are unhappy, miserable individuals who are unfulfilled in life.

  13. Paulette says:

    Keep writing. Take me out of the norm and drudgery through the excellence of your books. Thank you.

  14. Ann Mayburn says:

    Will you have my babies? Or can I have yours? I love you so much. 😉

  15. Oh, Jen…

    To say I’m with you on this one isn’t enough, but it will have to do. Back in the day when romance novels were bodice rippers with Cinderella characters I might actually ‘hear’ some of what this person was saying. That simply isn’t the case any longer. In fact…my critique partner is first to point out anytime one of my characters is becoming ‘Disney-like’.

  16. Jane Housley says:

    Very well said – and I totally agree with you. Book genre snobbery is annoying and also annoys me no end.

    Jane

  17. Mary G says:

    I love the points you made Jennifer. I wonder what this person would make of gay romance novels which are very popular. Not a damsel in sight, just good stories! I don’t remember the last time I read a weak female main character. And in the best books, they save each other!

  18. Great post Jen! I specifically avoided the article you mention because I didn’t want to get upset. Like you, I’m a professional woman with a Master of Science Degree. I am a strong woman who would not react well to a man trying to dominate me or control me. And yet I enjoy the escapism of all kinds of romance novels. I love a good story and a happily ever after. I’ve worked as a nurse for years and I know happily ever afters are not a given in real life. But I read to get away from real life for a few hours. I read for enjoyment, pure and simple.

  19. Jamallah bergman says:

    Why was it that when I read that article that I wanted to snatch a knot up in this person who wrote this article?

    I mean for real!

    *shakes my head* I’ve never read so much crap by someone who doesn’t know a thing about writing a novel and what it takes to much less writing a article about the subject of Romance.

  20. Maryanne says:

    Interestingly, the comment section of that ibtimes article is no longer visible online. I googled the author Palash Ghosh and found him to be a middle aged Indian dude, and what the cr@p is the ibtimes anyway? Laughably the dude has issued an addendum containing an apology!
    Sticks and stones, Mr Ghosh… I’ve been warned by the man’s chauvinistic article as to the calibre of his writing and I will make it a point to avoid giving anymore undue attention to him or his magazine.
    Jennifer, your readers love you and your work; pay no heed to those who do not appreciate what you and other romance writers are doing to make this world a better place.

  21. Aimee Carson says:

    Yo, the man’s an idiot. Nuff said.

  22. Amy Hearst says:

    I don’t know if you read the author’s addendum, but he did apologize for offending anyone.

    I find it interesting to consider all views. As a conservative (rare in the world of romance writing), I have wondered myself while some of the most ardent feminists among my colleagues are the biggest fans of Regency romance.

    It’s a mystery. But I think it has to do with how we all wish we were treated by men. All the time. A bit of a fantasy, of course.

  23. Susan M says:

    Hmmm? So if a man indulges in James Bond does that mean he secretly wants to save the world with gadgets in his shoe or wrist watch? Does he have a hero complex because he is unhappy with his 5’7 stature, lack of fitness to bench press what is expected, and failure with the ladies? Or perhaps, he just likes an action movie with sexy females and some cool guy that he knows will conquer the bad guy in the end. I guess he will hit the gym after the movie since according to the logic of the article’s writer it will leave him feeling inadequate and hating his lot in life.

    • Joan says:

      Thank you for pointing out the one thing that kept going through my mind! Well, that and what he thinks readers are after when they read Dean Koontz and Steven King?

  24. Phuong says:

    Enjoyed your post, Jennifer! The writer of this article has got it wrong. I’m content with my life as well and just read romance novels for pure enjoyment and nothing else. I’m not looking for my real life to imitate what’s happening in these books, lol 🙂

  25. Kathryn Jane says:

    Well said Jen. I read for entertainment. I write because I have to, and my readers get a few hours of escape from the world they live in.

    I wonder how well a gourmet meal would go over at a ball game 🙂

  26. The piece we’re reacting to is so spectacularly and consistently ignorant (almost but not quite laughably so) and offensive, that I’m guessing an editor at IBT conceived it as a means of increasing site traffic. Yet more evidence of the professional bankruptcy of much of the fourth estate, and of how deeply in distress some dudes are, without even knowing it.
    I’m up to four academic degrees… so far.

  27. Christina M says:

    Bravo!!! Wonderful response Jennifer!
    It’s sad that in today’s society of”advanced” thinking and culture there are those who must consistently “label” the people around them simply because they don’t have all the facts/details and make them up in the worst possible way.
    This archaic way of thinking is one of the many reasons why there is so much prejudice in the world today. It seems to me he could benefit from some diversity training to help rid him of his stereotyping mentality. What’s that old adage?
    NEVER judge a book by its cover. You never know what you’ll find inside unless you open your mind and reach out!
    Much love and respect Jennifer! This world would be a much sadder place were you not in it sharing you gift of words with us!

  28. I’m just creeped out that he was reading over the shoulder of a stranger. Ick. Then he wrote about it…

  29. Elizabeth Dougan says:

    You go girl. I loved your article. I read romance novels as I love when characters get there HEA. There is pain along the way but that is part of live I feel empowered after reading a story when all the odds are staked against the characters. It is a credit to all the authors that we laugh, cry and get angry at the characters just like someone would with a tv show. X

  30. Laurie says:

    Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

  31. I too have read all the classics, and what I’ve come away with is this: Good writing is good writing, no matter what genre! I prefer to spend my entertainment dollars on a great book that I KNOW will have a very satisfactory resolution. I am an educated, well read professional who also reads romance novels voraciously, and writes them. Great rebuttal, Jennifer!

  32. Amanda Usen says:

    After reading the article, I searched around a bit, trying to figure out if it was a joke piece. It didn’t bring anything new to the topic, and every point was cliched, offensive, and just so WRONG. Hard to believe this person wasn’t writing it for the express purpose of getting a heated response. Oh wait – there was a new angle: “when men were masculine gentlemen and women were feminine.” I was hoping a LGBTQ reader/writer would step in and make hash of the writer’s assumptions of “masculine” and “feminine.” Almost tweeted that. But then I went back to reading a romance novel.

  33. Annette says:

    Well said! Thank you!

  34. Jeannie Moon says:

    Bravo! A magnificent response.

    Thank you for so eloquently defending our genre.

    • Jennifer says:

      I’m so humbled to find such beautiful comments here and a sisterhood of people who love romance and see it’s trueness. Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment!

  35. Nikki Weston says:

    Wonderful article Jennifer, thank you so much!

    I have endured too many false assumptions about Romance right to my face and, I’m sure, many more behind my back. If only these folks realised that well over 50% of all fiction book sales fall into the category Romance… and that a careful analysis of reader demographic shows a majority of highly educated and intelligent women. Let me add my tuppence worth: so too are the writers.

    Bravo Jennifer, keep on rocking.

    Best – Nikki.

  36. Christine says:

    Reading a romance novel is an escape. So are TV and movies should we stop watching them? People should not judge other people, it is as simple as that. I have been reading romance novels since I am 16 and will continue to enjoy them for a long time to come!

  37. Graylin Fox says:

    I started reading romance as a teenager. I learned lessons about trust, betrayal, passion, and life I couldn’t have gotten living in East Bumblef@@k Alabama.

    It enforces my belief in imperfect love, the kind with warts.

    Graylin

  38. Jean Joachim says:

    I agree with your statements, but think there’s a tad too much analysis on both sides. Men and women read for escape to be transported to a different place and time. Nothing wrong with that. The news is enough to drive anyone to escape 24/7. But let’s be totally clear, men escape, too — into science fiction, does that mean they want to become aliens? To westerns (huge success of Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey), does that mean they want to be a sheriff and have a gun fight? To thrillers and mysteries, does that mean they want to become serial killers? I think not.
    There’s nothing wrong with escape. Each chooses his or her own path to avoid some of the stress of our society. Less analysis and more tolerance of people’s choices is what’s needed here. Does anyone really care that I chose to escape into romance novels? I doubt it. And I don’t care what others choose to read either. Reading is good for the soul. Can’t we simply leave it at that?

  39. CD Reiss says:

    Wait a minute.
    Just wait a cotton-picking minute.

    Why haven’t we deconstructed mysteries and thrillers, where the embittered (male, alpha) hero embarks to destroy evil, rescue the damsel in distress and bring order and right to the world?

    Oh, right.

    We’re only really interested in managing the expectation of women with regard to their sexual lives.

  40. Cindy Friedman says:

    Please continue to write the books you do, I so look forward to reading them. I love books about romance, sex, love and happy endings.

  41. Tiffany says:

    Bravo!! Well said. His argument was baseless. I am completely happy and don’t read romance to fill gaps in my life.

  42. Connie Terpstra Dowell says:

    All you ladies, I could not have said it better. Happily ever afters. Our reward for everything that may not be quite so perfect. And oh, how I LOVE them~!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Nicola says:

    As a long-time fan and hopefully one day published writer of romance, fantasy, and science fiction (including paranormal romance), I’m way too familiar with genre-based critiques. I went into a funk a few months back when an old lecturer of mine posted on facebook about how he was glad none of his students this year had written any fantasy/sci-fi pieces for his class. I like the guy, and he did go on to explain that he meant they were using the genre tropes as props – they didn’t know how to construct a good story or develop a character yet and used the setting to drive the story instead of the people in it. But it really, really bugged me that he used my favorite genres as catch-alls for ‘bad writing’, particularly since that is what I had written in his class.

    Bad writing is bad writing regardless of genre, and good writing is good writing regardless of genre. Wish you’d mentioned Sylvia Day in your list of romance authors btw 🙂 She’s my current favorite. One very smart lady. I’d love to set her on this guy, that’d be entertaining.

  44. Kanae says:

    Well said. I happen to enjoy romance books and am quite happy with my husband who is not a billionaire.

  45. […] Also I’d like to show our readers an amazing post written by Jennifer Probst, who wrote it as a rebuttal to an article that appeared on the IB Times. […]

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