Friday, March 18, 2005

In romance novels, it's the thrust that counts

the conversation was a waste of breath. But I had to try anyway.

It happened at the hotel this week, at the bar. We had worked all day, and I was in the bar, reading Pamela Clare's RIDE THE FIRE. Wowser. I'm humbled and in absolute awe at her flare for writing. I bow before her superior command of the English language. She's amazing.

so there I am, in the hotel in Haiti, reading and enjoying a rum punch, listening to these people from Spain chatter away in Spanish, the loud American men in their shorts and socks and sandals (hello, can we say dweeb???) and the French stare at the TV blaring CNN. Reading a romance novel. A romance novel with a very sexy cover (John Desalvo, mmmmm!) There's a cool breeze drifting from outside and the chair is plush and soft. I'm chilling.

And along comes the New Guy. The Newbie.

We start talking, rather pleasantly, and he's discerned that I write romance novels. It's not something I broadcast at work. By now my friend and other co-worker, the photographer, has joined us. The newbie looks at me and remarks something like, "Oh those books are read by desperate women."


B tosses out some impressive stats about the industry that he heard on NPR, like Nora Roberts outsells the leading MALE fiction writer. Then I launch into the reason why I write the books. For balance. To balance my life after seeing all we had in places like Haiti, the misery, suffering, etc. Because in romance, they always have happy endings. But romance novels, I am earnestly telling The Newbie, are relationship books.

The Newbie wants to know if I write sex scenes. I tell him yes. Then he gets this goofy look and says, "Oh and you use words like thrust. Romance novels are like PENTHOUSE."

then he kind of smothers a titter.

There is no other way to describe it.

I ignore that and describe how romance novels are character driven, how some fiction is plot driven and how writing a romance novel is great training to write ANY kind of novel because you learn to focus on the characters.... and I'm talking and it's like Charlie Brown's teacher in teh cartoons.

wah wah wha wha wha wha wha

Because after I finish my impressive little talk, woven in with stats about what percentage of American women buy romance novels, what kind of market share in publishing romance garners, and he kind of gets that smirky grin again and says, "So it's all about the thrust."

I changed topics. I know what I wanted to say.

I was ready to zing it out, to say in absolute dead seriousness, "Yes, it is. It's about taking your Raging Hard MANROOT and doing the nooky dance to this certain beat. Oh yeah, do me baby now yes yes yes yes harder harder harder faster faster faster slower slower slower, slower, then faster slower one two thrust thrust thrust. Cha Cha Cha."

Some days, I just regret wasting my breath.

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