General reminder and FAQ: Still not a romance writer

Actual thing said to me in email today: “I notice you do a fair amount of romance writing…”

To which I’d now like to issue the general reminder that no, actually, not a romance writer.

I am a romance reader, which is why I pay attention to the genre and often post about developments in it, such as my posts on the Ellora’s Cave v. Dear Author case. And also because hey, Carina is a Harlequin imprint and so I’m in contact with a lot of people who do write romance for Carina, and Carina authors are prone to showing up on Boosting the Signal. I love me some romance of assorted genres (historical, paranormal, Gothic, and romantic suspense), and I do believe strongly and proudly in owning my reading tastes.

(Also because Smart Bitches Trashy Books and Dear Author are bastions of awesomeness, and are responsible for helping me find the narrow band of romance I actually like to read, and for the aforementioned proud ownership of my reading tastes. Thank you, DBSA Podcast!)

And science fiction romance IS a thing, a hybrid of the genres. But despite my Carina covers, I’m not even writing SFR, really. I do write love stories, but the level of love story I write is comparable to what you’ll find in a lot of fantasy written by men.

Which is to say: I do have characters fall in love, but this is tangential to the plot and is not the primary driver of the plot. And I very, very rarely write sex scenes. When I do, most likely they will cut a fade to black before anything explicit happens. A romantic relationship by me, on camera, is mostly going to be some intense feelings (and by intense feelings I do NOT mean ‘spending several paragraphs talking about the character’s sudden case of lustypants’, because I find that boring), occasional smooching, and outbursts of daring and heroic activity on behalf of the party to whom a character is romantically inclined.

And yet, I still get mistaken for a romance writer. It’s an easy mistake to make, since I do read and follow the genre, and I post about it a lot. And because of my covers.

But I daresay that some of this is also how a lot of folks out there will all too often see “written by a woman” and automatically assume “must be a romance novel”. Women in SF/F get this all the damn time, and it’s tiresome. If you’ve seen my posts over the last couple years about assorted SFWA controversies, you should have a real good idea of how tiresome I find that attitude.

So in conclusion: not a romance writer, even though I’m a proud romance reader. If you’ve enjoyed reading Valor of the Healer and Vengeance of the Hunter, the favor I’d like to ask of you is this: tell folks about my work, especially people who might be looking at my covers and automatically assuming “romance novel”. Tell ’em “no, actually, she’s writing fantasy!”

I may write actual romance eventually. But I’m not yet. And if I do write something that actually qualifies as romance, believe me, I’ll be making that clear too. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be the first to write a romance with a folk musician as the hero or heroine. Because a well-played fiddle is sexy, yo. 😀

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