You know, I think, more disappointing than disparaging authors of romance, lately (though it's always been a problem), is the shaming of the MILLIONS of romance readers. I get we're not up to some people's lofty literary standards. I won't apologize for not writing with a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in mind. I won't get mad at you for thinking your work is superior to mine because I prefer an HEA. I'm not bitter. I'll take my romance award from my peers any day, and still will be proud of you that your peers recognized you with your non-romantic fiction award. The art of writing fiction, like any art, is highly subjective and not every subject matter is something you may find joy in writing.
But I will take exception to you saying what MILLIONS OF READERS like to
read is garbage and insinuating they're simple for enjoying it. I'm so disappointed and angry when a friend side-eyes a another for having a Harlequin in their purse. I'm pissed when I say I write M/M romance and they equate it with porn, or ask when I'm gonna write a "real book". I'm furious when a reader tells me they told a friend they read M/M and their friend hurt their feelings acting like they were a simpleton because "Really? You read romance?"
I understand, people think romance doesn't change the world, doesn't broaden society in any ways. In a similar post to this one FaceBook a reader responded "...I'm
still looking for my HEA. At this stage, I could easily see it being me
on a sun-warmed porch with a never ending supply of Tim Tams, grandkids
and my Kindle. What you guys do is provide not only entertainment for
this "stalled" woman, but also hope, companionship, laughter, tears and
somewhere accepting of my your quirks and my current circumstances to
escape to. It's also a reminder that you're never alone and you don't
have to be what society deems "perfect" to find love and your own HEA.
THANK YOU for what you give me. ❤" And you know what, that touched me so much. I hear that from readers, have said similar words to favorite authors in the past. So, maybe touching that one life, being a part of that one person's world for an hour and making them smile... Maybe that's the change I want to effect. I for one think that's worth a helluva lot.
electronic age, I'm so overjoyed to see anyone reading anything,
whether it be Dickens or Rowling or fucking EL James. To the readers, my peeps, I say "you do you, boo."
A friend of mine said, "Remember when teachers and librarians always told you as a child that it didn't matter what you read so long as you read." Growing up, my mother—an educator—never limited my reading, whether it was Carolyn B Cooney, RL Stine, Louis L'amour. She was just happy I wasn't always plopped in front of a television. Isn't that what the ultimate goal is. Being well-read should never be considered a bad thing, regardless of taste.
While I cannot lay blame at her feet, because this HAS been a
problem for years, I cringe every time I see a new article on an even
bigger, more widely read blog or news site. I understand it's the direction the authors who were plagiarized decided, and had every right to go in to bring visibility to their problem and make sure Harner was taken to task. I, personally, don't need my pound of flesh—I didn't
purchase or read her stuff, because reasons—and I don't need to "have my
say". But I can lay the shitstorm of negative press at the feet of the
Plagiarizer. I think that makes me more fucking livid about the whole
situation than anything.
I'm a proud writer of romance. I'm even more proud of being successful writing Male/Male romance and watching gay romance—one of few genres where LGBT protagonists are glorified and given positive stories—grow as a genre. I'm honored being a part of it. And finally, I find my biggest joy and have immense pride in being a reader of romance, and having a HUGE support system and group of people I've met through and because of it. So, respectfully, #fuckoff.