This is a blog that will be posting tomorrow on the Soul Mate Authors Group Blog. After this incident happened, it bugged me enough to want to share it with readers and writers who may not follow Soul Mate Publishing. I’m sorry if you’re getting this twice.
I recently had an experience that most, if not all, romance writers have had in their career. The dreaded – “Oh, so you write romance. Oooohh.” I know I have many times. Here’s the most recent event that had me ready to do battle:
I’m going to RT this year and participating in the reader panel with several other Soul Mate Authors. I needed to figure out what to do about my swag. Since purchasing swag is new to me, I had no idea what to buy or where to buy it. My husband and I own a tax and accounting firm, and he reminded me that we have a client who was in the promotional business.
So I called the owner. She came up with several ideas while we were talking on the phone, but I wanted to personally see what she had. She made an appointment to come to our office. Both her and her husband a very nice people, but he can be a little over-bearing – to say the least.
Well, they came bounding into my office. I guess I should say he did, as she was quite demur. With a gleam in his eyes, the first words out of his mouth were: “So do you use Al as your example for your love scenes?” Yes, he actually rubbed his hands together. And I got the wink, wink; smirk, smirk; nudge, nudge, routine. I’m sure you all know what I mean. His wife rolled her eyes.
I gritted my teeth and completely forgot a response I’ve used before: “No, I don’t use Al for my love scenes, I have to tone them down.” That usually knocks the wind out some sails.
Anyway, I explained about the reader panel and the goody bags. He laughed and said I should use condoms. Then he suggested tubes of ointment, tickle feathers, etc., etc., etc. You get the idea.
Since they were a client of ours, I thought I should be nice and not say anything, but it was his idea of making a booklet of sex toys that finally did it for me. I realized I was the client this time, and I wasn’t going to put up with his male-induced, sexual comments any longer. At this point his wife had slunk a few inches down her chair.
Here was my response, which I managed to say without smacking him up the side of the head.
“Romance isn’t about sex. That’s a man’s idea of romance.” I looked at his wife who gave me a small smile. “I can’t put those things in the bags. There will be many types of readers there, and I don’t know what type of romance they read.
“Romance is a journey between a man and a woman and it may or may not involve sex. Romances can go from Inspirational which, in some cases, the couple may not even kiss, to the total opposite end of the spectrum. But, the main thing is the journey between the couple.” At this point he quit smiling and leaning toward me in anticipation – of what I’m not sure, but I can guess.
“The couple falls in love, have problems, but in the end live happily ever after. The book has to have a happy ending. The romance can be a paranormal, inspirational, science fiction, mystery, suspense or just plain romance. But it is about love, not sex. Now show me the catalogs and let me see what you have.”
Now his wife was sitting up in her chair and smiling at me. He had his arms crossed over his chest and was sitting back in his chair. I have a feeling she’s a closet romance reader.
Like a lot of us, I’m an introvert. I’m proud that I was able to speak up to a man who thought he knew what I write. One who thought he was funny and maybe I’d share some of my love scenes with him. I do know he walked out of my office much quieter than when he came in. And, I’m dealing only with her now.