Saturday Feedback On The RWR Letters Section

I know better. I know I shouldn’t read the letters in the RWR and yet every month I do. And I’m honestly never ready for the depth of audacity on the part of some of the people who write in to gasp and moan and put their hand on their foreheads and cry about the direction of romance.

This month’s little ditty is written by Linda Swift Reeder – who quickly assures us she’s not a prude and then follows up by calling erotic romance porn and women who have sex or who use curse words in these books sluts. This follows three months of letters crying about the “gang member” language on the part of heroines (including one written by a fairly well known pararomance author only signed in her real name and makes no reference to her writerly persona). Yawn. Won’t someone think of the children. *weeps* Yadda yadda.

I’m bored by the attacks on my morals by people who don’t know me. I’m agitated far more by what equals attacks on my readers. I mean, to consistently assail books my readers buy which contain curse words and sex scenes is at attack on romance readers and I’m not a genius or anything, but I love my readers and I can’t imagine why these folks attack them.

At this point I’m not even angry. I’m just sort of saddened by the lazy intellectualism this sort of letter shows.

I don’t think it’s jealousy that drives this sort of letter. I think there’s an expectation by people of Reeder’s ilk, that one’s opinion should be more than just an opinion – it should simply be the way *everyone* thinks and feels. This plays out in politics and every day life as well.

Some people don’t handle change well so they latch on to whatever they can to hang their anxieties. Erotic romance, sex, confident women – it’s all just a place to go when you can’t deal with your own insecurities.

There are indeed many romance novels that don’t contain graphic sex and bad language. There is indeed a middle ground in romance as well as the extremes on both sides (and I mean extreme as in polarity from the middle not in character). But people like this never rely on facts, they go straight for histrionics because that’s all they know. It’s lazy, but it’s prevalent.

There are many books I don’t read. Many genres that dont’ work for me. And many that do. I tend to turn my brain off whenever anyone starts wailing about “the children” or “our daughters” or “we as X women” because cripes, there are as many kinds of women as there are kinds of books.

I don’t think it’s sex she needs, or royalties, or whatever. I think it’s a damned open mind she’s in desperate need of and an ability to accept and understand she’s not the arbiter of what anyone but herself reads, does and says.

Books are amazing. Preferences are amazing. So put the two together why don’t you? Like what you like, don’t like what you don’t. It’s so very simple and completely unnecessary to attack what other people read and write.

16 comments to “Saturday Feedback On The RWR Letters Section”

  1. Estella
    January 5th, 2008 at 5:39 pm · Link

    I agree with you completely, Lauren.
    I think people of her ilk have to have something to bitch about and erotic or even spicy novels are it.

  2. Christine
    January 5th, 2008 at 7:41 pm · Link

    The solution is very simple. If you don’t like the book don’t read it. And leave the rest of us alone who want to.

  3. Laura K
    January 5th, 2008 at 11:13 pm · Link

    I don’t want to appear ignorant, but what is RWR? Is this something everyone has access to or do you have to be a member to read its stuff? In any case, she and her ilk can kiss my ***. I don’t come into her house, perusing what she reads or tell her if she should/shouldn’t read something. Would love to slam her with statistics how romance readers/writers are the most generous authors I know- that’s evident from how many had troop Christmas projects to give to. Wonder if she knows how much romance sells and that it’s over 60% of all books sold in print/eformat. On a lighter note, I may have a few toys we can donate to her to help alleviate some of her frustration!

  4. Jordan
    January 6th, 2008 at 11:04 am · Link

    Oh, but it’s not nearly as fun. Plus, if you don’t put it out there, then you won’t get the ‘I agree’ posts. (Instant gratification.) Ultimately, that’s what she’s looking for. Great post and spot on.

  5. aussie dee
    January 6th, 2008 at 2:33 pm · Link

    well said
    she could one of those that stands up at meetings and says stupid things just hear her own voice. If we all liked exactly the same thing there would be no interesting debates/discussion, everyone is different and will have a different viewpoint.

    There is about five authors I could mention who have characters swearing but within the context of the story and nearly all romance books have a bit of sex in them, usually very well written.

  6. Lauren
    January 6th, 2008 at 4:12 pm · Link

    Laura – The Romance Writer’s Report – it’s the monthly magazine the RWA sends to its members.

  7. Jana J. Hanson
    January 6th, 2008 at 5:20 pm · Link

    Seems like the RWR editor(s) would stop publishing the letters, unless they just like to start stuff. In that case, well, I’m glad I’m not an RWA member! Though I am in agreement that if you don’t like such-and-such genre, don’t read it. What’s so hard to comprehend about that? Think how boring we’d be if we were all exactly the same. Ugh.

    Oh, and congrats on your RT shout out for your Berkley sale.

  8. Melissa
    January 6th, 2008 at 6:40 pm · Link

    Lauren~~I have an opinion on such things, too. LOL. I won’t share, but I will say that if they don’t like the books…don’t buy them!! Don’t pick them up and read them. This flows over into alot of categories, but obviously there are people like me out here who DO like these types of books…or they wouldn’t be selling.

  9. Monica Burns
    January 6th, 2008 at 8:24 pm · Link

    You know, even though I know it’s a coarse, crude word. A good “f*ck” bellowed out in a moment of passion (anger, desire, fear, etc.) can have real impact. I’ve used it (and other foul language :oops:) in real life and in my books.

    It’s when a writer overuses ANY word (curse, sex, whatever) that I find myself getting irritated. I put down one book recently because I just couldn’t get past the fact every other sentence (literally) there was a p*ssy, c*nt, c*ck, etc. And the book wasn’t even erotica. The words didn’t bother me, just the incessant way they littered paragraph after paragraph. It got boring. I mean I know it feels good to touch one’s p*ssy, but for crying out loud, show me how good it feels, don’t tell me!

    I chose to stop reading the book, but I sure as hell wouldn’t judge someone if they read and liked the book. It’s all subjective. Not everyone is going to like the same kind of romance book. Just because something didn’t work for me sure as hell doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else.

    As for RWR, I read the letters and then I just shrug. They’re entitled to an opinion, and I don’t have to agree with them. I’ve made an ass out of myself plenty of times over the years, and I can always use the company.

  10. Monica Burns
    January 6th, 2008 at 8:26 pm · Link

    Oh GREAT one wayward piece of code and the whole fricking post looks like I was shouting and emphasizing things! 😡

  11. Sarah
    January 6th, 2008 at 10:54 pm · Link

    Some people write absolute dribble, honestly. If they don’t like it then they should not read it. Its so simple!

    Love your books BTW, read reviews via teddypig and have been glued to them the past 2 days. Groovy writing chick!
    Sarah NZ

  12. Kerry Allen
    January 7th, 2008 at 9:11 am · Link

    Many of these malcontents sound to me as if they believe they are entitled to read nothing but books they enjoy. If the sorts of books to which they object continue to be published, O laws, one might accidentally fall into their hands and subject them to a displeasing experience, and therefore such books should not be printed.

    I’d like to know how they acquire all this objectionable material to begin with. Do they randomly grab things off the shelf and buy without even glancing at the content, or are wicked, foul-mouthed, oversexed trollops forcing the books before their eyes, which have been taped open so they cannot look away?

    I really don’t know why I keep paying dues. The noisemakers of RWA are so not my crowd…

  13. Amelia June
    January 7th, 2008 at 9:41 am · Link

    What I don’t understand is why there is a letter like this in every issue.

    Dudes, we get the point. Can we move on to a different topic, or are we all so titillated by sex and naughty words it is all we can talk about?

    Me thinks they are a bit more obsessed than those of us who actually write the stuff…

  14. laurendane
    January 7th, 2008 at 10:46 am · Link

    Monica – I hope you don’t mind but I fixed it for you.

    Jana – I don’t think all RWA members feel this way, I know I don’t! And thanks so much for the congrats on that RT piece – it gave me a huge grin.

    Thank you Sarah! I’m glad you’re enjoying them.

    Kerry – Yes, indeed. Really it’s so very simple but it’s something they miss because they’re not thinking beyond themselves.

    Amelia – perhaps because the rest of us are too busy writing. I don’t know.

  15. Monica Burns
    January 7th, 2008 at 11:16 am · Link

    Thanks for that fix, Lauren! 😀 To your point about not all RWA members feeling this way. I would agree. Most of the people who disagree are like me. They shrug and don’t bother to write a response. Too busy dealing with their careers.

    I did find the Prez’s article interesting though. Wonder where that will go. Moving from a volunteer dominated structure can be good or bad depending on one’s perspective. Or maybe I read the article wrong.

  16. Jaci Burton
    January 8th, 2008 at 1:29 pm · Link


    You know, there are books I don’t like. I rarely write complaint letters about their banality, or how dull I find them, or how they don’t hit my hot buttons. So what do I do? I just dont’ read them. I don’t expect other readers not to read them just because I don’t like them, because I figure there are other readers out there who might absolutely love the kind of books I can’t stand.

    And isn’t it great that there are so many different kinds of books out there? It’s a smorgasboard. Something for everyone’s tastes, so that everyone can be happy.

    I don’t know why that’s so difficult a concept for some people to grasp.