At a recent cocktail party, a woman approached me, probably early sixties, but, you know, with work done, wearing tight gold lamé pants tucked into knee-high black boots, short spiky hair dyed dark, gold jewelry dangling everywhere. She was clutching a large glass of wine and stood so close you could smell the alcohol on her.
The inevitable happened, she found out I was a writer. Ohhhh!
She’d always wanted to write a book! Because wow, had she
ever lived a life worth telling about! Though when I told her I write
romance, she immediately shook her head, “Oh, no, no, I’d write something with meaning.”
People sneer at romance. Whatever. If it’s not your thing, it’s not
your thing. But this was a new level of dismissal. (Granted, I
dismissed her, too, but at least I interacted with her first—she’d never read a
I wanted to tell her about the letter I got from a woman who’d spent all night
in the hospital worrying about a loved one, and how my book (a comedy) made the
long wait bearable. Or the letter from the therapist in Tennessee who
handed out my romances to female clients as examples of strong women getting
their needs met. Or, more personally, how reading romance helped me come
to terms with what was missing from my first marriage.
Mostly, I wanted to tell her about the story I just finished* for the American
Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Foundation, about a woman starting life over
after escaping a violent relationship. Print copies will be distributed
to women’s shelters and the e-novella will be available for free, to spread the
word about the Foundation’s Give Back a Smile program, which enlists dentists
to repair women’s teeth damaged by an abusive partner without charge. No
meaning? Come on.
Okay, I wanted to tell her a few other things too, but I was raised to be
So there’s a beginning list. I’m curious to hear your additions.
What has the romance genre meant to you?
My favorite answer wins a copy of Back in Service, one of the Harlequin
Blaze Uniformly Hot miniseries, about men and women serving in the
military. Check out this cover. I have to fan myself every time I
Look forward to hearing from you!
* The e-novella, For One of Your Smiles . . . will be available in early
2014. Check my website later in the year for details, www.IsabelSharpe.com. A really
good cause and a free book! And while you’re at it, take time in the
remaining days of October to think about National Domestic Violence Awareness
Month and help a friend if she needs it.
***Erin is the winner! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing details.***