Thursday, September 4, 2008

Romance, From The Penile Perspective

Hello everyone! This week's guest blogger is Pandem Buckner. He's an editor at The Wild Rose Press. Let's all give him a very friendly Deadly Vixen welcome! =)
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I am often asked for my views of romantic literature (okay, romance novels) and issues related to that field. Why, you may ask, is this?

Is it because I am an editor for up-and-coming e-romance publisher The Wild Rose Press? Is it because I am an aspiring writer? Is it because I am the author of a well-written current events blog, Vagabond Saint? Is it because I am world-renowned, for my knowledge and skill in the area of romance?

No, no, no, and, to my knowledge, no.

It's because I'm a guy.

That's right, I am a male, albeit one slowly seeking deeper into the world of romance publishers, and, apparently, there are very few of us ovary-challenged beings to be found here. That suits me just fine (what guy wouldn't want to work with 60+ women?), but it does occasionally lead to questions on what I think of a literary market that has been historically written by and for women.

So, what do I think of romance novels?

Well, I certainly have nothing against them, and I read them as much as I do any non-fantasy genre. A good story is a good story, no matter what genre it's been slotted into, and I've found just as many good romance stories, percentage-wise, as I have in every other genre. The part that confuses me is that romance novels somehow have a reputation as being trashy, ill-written books with absolutely no substance and nothing to say. I am inclined to believe that people who espouse that view have obviously not done any reading from the political sections of their local bookstores. There's a Valley of the Shadow of Ignorance, if you're just looking for one. Romance novels are just the same as any other literary form: some good, some bad, most in-between.

Here's the thing that makes them stand apart, though, and makes me wonder why more guys don't read them: they're chock-full of good romantic ideas to try on real women. Seriously, all guys are looking for ways to woo women, be it for women they want to be with or women that they're already with and are trying to keep, and here, loaded on numerous shelves in any bookstore, are literally millions of ideas! What is wrong with you, men? Do some reading and learn something, from books written by women, for women, about what women secretly fantasize about! Call it “research” if it makes you feel better, but there's a lot to be learned from these books! No fantasy novel on earth is going to help you land a lady, unless she's into them and you give it to her as a gift!

Sorry, I just had to get that rant out. I feel better now. Back to my perspective. . .

I don't really think of my perspective on romance novels as being a male perspective; if anything, I think of it as being the perspective of someone who has read a whole lot of books, across all genre lines. That's how it is to me, although I can certainly understand why my presence in the industry makes some women react as though there's a boy in the girls' locker room (or a fox in the henhouse, if you prefer). Like any other reader, I have my favorite authors in this genre, those being Rynne Raines, Sherrie Eddington, and Nora Roberts, right now. There are books and authors I don't like, and I won't mention them. There are heroes and heroines that I like, and some I can't stand.

In short, my perspective really isn't different from that of any given woman's, I don't think. But then again, I might be wrong.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the guest blogger do not necessarily reflect those of The Deadly Vixens.

14 deadly screams:

Sierra Wolfe said...

Fantastic post, Pandem! I loved your perspective. And the idea of men reading romance for "research", fabulous. I so wish more men would. There would probably be a lower rate of divorce :D

Thanks for being our guest today. Hope we can have you back sometime. I really enjoyed reading your comments.

Kota said...

Ha! Sierra touched on the same thing that jumped out at me (oh, and hi!) I've wondered myself why more men don't OPENLY enjoy romance or more specificly the genre of erotica. If romance gets a bum wrap, erotica is definitely the redheaded stepchild. I've actually been conducting my own informal survey regarding men and women's erotic writings and have had several men review my WIPs to get their point of view, tips, etc. I have no idea if other writers do this but it has been tremendously helpful, particularly input from male writers. They MAY have been stroking my ego, :D but every one of them expressed enjoying the writings. (Without the caveat of "don't tell anyone i said that") and many have requested to read more. I think it's an untapped market and if someone can figure out how to jump preconceived gender notions they would have a nice buyers market for the genre. (ummm - tossing my P.R. hat over my shoulder - sorry)
Thanks for the post Mr. Buckner, sir and thanks for the heads up Sierra! ~smooches~ Kota

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your perspective Pandem! I had a chuckle over your comment about men reading romance novels for research purposes. Yeah! I've thought the same thing for years! I can just see a bunch of romance reader moms giving their sons their first romance novel. "Now son, I know what you're thinking but I promise you if you read this you'll thank me - I mean really thank me. But please spare me the details." ;-) Hmm at what age should that be - 20? 25? 30? LOL. I have a teenage son, uh, no way I'd give him one now, unless it was sex free. LOL.

Sierra Wolfe said...

Anonymous, just give him a sweet romance. He'll still thank you, because he'll get the girl!

Yeah, I wouldn't give one with sex in it to a teenager with all those hormones running rampant. LOL.

Sarah Mäkelä said...

Hi Pandem! Thanks for your perspective on this. Great post! =)

vagabondsaint said...

Wow! Thanks Sierra, Kota, and Anonymous! I was worried about how the blog would be received (I really shouldn't write when I'm sleepy), but it's good to know it was well-received!

Several company have teen romance lines. . .those could be training manuals for young boys on how to treat women *s* There's a lot to learn from erotica, too (which I do write and have been writing for years now), but that can wait until they're at least old enough to drink *s*

I'm scheduled to do another blog on the 17th. . .hope to see you all then!

Pandem

Gracen Miller said...

Hi, Pandem. Awesome blog and well written. Strange as it may sound, my father-in-law and I swap romance books. We've been doing this since before I married his son. *grins* The first romance book he offered to loan me to read surprised me since it was coming from a guy. Now it just seems normal. *grins*

I look forward to reading your blog on the 17th.

Teresa D'Amario said...

Hi Pandem,

Thanks so much. :) I certainly appreciate the outlook. Question though - do you find yourself drawn to a particular SUB-GENRE of romance? For instance, the romantic suspense, vs the paranormal, the thriller vs. the action?

My current WIP has a scene I'm working on that's an action scene. I found myself watching different fight scenes from different movies to "choreograph" the scene to make it feel more realistic. I'm considering foisting it off on my husband, who's a bonafide self-proclaimed romance handicapped male (notice I didn't say challenged. He's plain handicapped, per his definition). I tell him he likes movies only if there is alot of "knock down drag out shoot 'em up bang bang" going on.

Oddly enough, because I'm exposed to so many movies (Wesley snipes and Bruce Willis- need I say more?), my books tend to be a bit more "Action" oriented, and I was wondering if you lean in any particular direction in style of romance. I tend to lean my own reading toward the heavier, edgy romance myself, probably due to hubby's dark action influence.

Might I add I drew the line at the last Rambo movie. Just couldn't do it. LOL

Sierra Wolfe said...

Good question Teresa. I thought that too, that more men might enjoy Romantic Suspense. It's got a lot more action in it. Especially more than most Contemporary Romance.

Molly Daniels said...

LOL Pandem:) I had an ex-boyfriend who went out and bought a bodice ripper when he found out I was writing romance:)

And had another who trashed them, because he thought the women used them as an excuse to be unrealistic in bed. That relationship didn't last very long. I just couldn't stay with a guy who slammed my dreams of being an author.

Alessandra said...

Hi Pandem,

Great blog - the title brought a wry smile to my face! :D

I totally agree that reading this genre would be helpful to men; young and old alike and yeah if they have to say it's for research then why the heck not!

I also love reading fanfics, one of which turned out to be male-on-male erotic in nature (I am female BTW). It didn't stop me from finishing the story as I had been enjoying thus far plus I also gleamed some useful tips on how to please my man orally - so it works both ways.

Look forward to reading your next blog on the 17th.

Al Watt said...

greetings! :D i have no valid opinions to offer since i've never knowingly read romance or erotica, but i do have a willy! But surely it is just the publisher's pigeon holes for titles and authors, wasnt the da vinci code a love story that sold as a thriller? or fifth element a love story sold as sci fi? Read what you like i say! :D good point on the research tho.......

vagabondsaint said...

Wow, people are still commenting!

Teresa, as far as sub-genres of romance go, I'm hard to pin down. I like fantasy romance but I tend to avoid vampires; I like erotica (of course) but I'm picky about it; I like a good suspense story (but I also like strong heroines that can rescue themselves or the hero, as opposed to the damsel-in-distress types), I like historical if it's well-done, etc. I don't rule anything out; give me your suspense, your fantasy, your realistic book masses, yearning to be free and be read *s* But I'm strange. Men in general may well prefer the action-oriented books, because, well, nothing's sexier than a woman that can kick ass and take names on her own, and since just about all men like of the idea of being tough guys (even if they aren't), having a tough woman to back us up, or that we can back up, is pretty awesome *s*. Keep writing good action stories and tell me where to find yours!

Molly - I agree, you should have dumped that guy if he wasn't going to support you in pursuing your dreams. The laws of physics are the only thing that define realism in the bedroom, and if women want men that devote themselves completely to her pleasure in bed, then by God don't stop looking till you find one! *s*

Al - The Da Vinci Code not only included a love story, but one that involved great travel to exotic locales. . .how is that not romantic? It is, however, also an action-adventure story, so I can see why it wouldn't be classified as a romance. The Fifth Element was about love at its core, as well. There's more romance in "guy movies" than you'd think; after all, what's the point of saving the world without having a beautiful lady to share it with?

Thanks for the comments, everyone. . .I can't tell you how worried I was about this one being received, since I wrote it on very short notice and a glass or two of mead *s* I feel more confident about the next one now!

Evia said...

I'm not too sure that I would want my man taking his cues from romance novel heroes, but on a side note, it's worth a mention that the stock romance novel formula teaches a lesson in communication and understanding for couples!