I’ve been reading romances lately, because I figured out I had an irrational prejudice against them.

I have come away with some early truths:

  • Romance is like sex.  It doesn’t matter what you like, but what you like, you like, and you aren’t going to like something else.
  • Fluffy romance is just not my gig, as a writer, because it doesn’t do anything for me.  I want drama.  If I don’t bawl my head off, I’ve been robbed.
  • Romance is weirder than you can possibly imagine, because it caters to other people’s tastes, too.
  • No sex scenes = pretty boring for me.
  • It is possible to read a boring sex scene, if it’s what bores you.
  • The hottest sex scene can be @#$%^& up by a flat romantic arc.
  • The whole instant-attraction thing gets on my nerves.  “Oh, I shouldn’t be attracted to him/her!  But I am!”  I found them cheesier than the names people gave each others’ genitals.
  • You can have sex before romance; if the romance works, the first romantic kiss will be hotter than the preceding sex.
  • No sex at the end of the book.  Apparently, you’re supposed to be driving your readers into the beds of the nearest acceptable surrogate for the love interest.  This annoys me…it seems like in a book with both an emotional and sexual component, there should be a sexual consummation at the end as well as a romantic one, but I can’t see how to do it.
  • The rest of the book is there to support the romance, but it had better work as smooth as astroglide, because you don’t want to be distracted from the romance.  This isn’t porn; there is a plot, and if you screw it up, it’s annoying.

More later.  I’m working on a book proposal for Nocturne that’s a zombie romance, because Angel Smits tells me they’re looking for some, I need the challenge, and I have to write a proposal by June 3…I’ll probably post it, for shits and giggles.

Now, if I could just figure out how to find the romances I like, instead of the ones that are just a little bit off…or running out of books by the authors I like.