It’s Totally Okay to Love Trashy Romance Novels

   I LOVE dirty books, and have been in love with dirty books since I was sixteen. I’ve always loved to read, since I was three years old and I sat in my grandfather’s lap and forced him to teach me every word in ” Peter Rabbit”. The problem is, that as I got older, I always wanted to read the things I wasn’t supposed to.


     I was the kid who was ALWAYS reading. When everyone else was playing Pac-man, or riding their bikes, or shooting each other with their BB guns…whatever the hell normal kids did, I was up in a tree, reading. The reason I was up in a tree,instead of molding away in some dusty corner,was because I could hide from the kids with the BB guns, while taking in the minimum requirement of  “fresh air” that adults were always forcing on me. Had I actually been allowed to do what I wanted, I would’ve stayed in my corner reading until I emerged from the darkness like Gollum from the depths of the Misty Mountains, eyes bulging and blinded by the smallest hint of natural light. Yeah, I’m a total geek.

 

Gollum
Me before Kindle

 

     

     My mother totally enabled my reading habit, being kind of a geek herself, but like any good mother of a seven year old, she tried to steer me towards appropriate books like” Little House on the Prairie” and ” The Secret Garden”. And, I was fine with those, until my dad bought us one of those fancy hard back book sets of classic literature. He’d bought them so I could read ” Tom Sawyer” and ” Little Women”, and I DID read those, but the set also included the entire works of Edgar Allan Poe. Once you’ve read a story about a guy who kills an old man because of his creepy glass eye, there’s really no going back to that place of innocence and happy endings on the frontier. My poor mother.

 

     After that, I was totally consumed by horror and fantasy for a long time. By the time I was eleven, I’d read every Stephen King book that I could get my hands on. The man practically raised me, and I’ll admit, that I was not-QUITE-Annie-Wilkes obsessed with him throughout my teenage years.

Annie Wilkes
Just kidding!!!ILOVEYOUSTEPHEN…

 

 

   So then, when my tenth grade teacher told us that we could write a book report on ANY book we wanted, you can imagine my fan gurl excitement….FINALLY, I would get to show my sheltered fellow classmates what they were missing out on! I was just CERTAIN that I was about to turn everyone’s life around for the better…until she added, ” EXCEPT Stephen King.” 

 

     I was crushed, I mean,  What.The.Actual.Hell? English teachers are supposed to be the rebels! They’re the ones that stand up for all of us bookworms. They form the Dead Poets Society and encourage us to read banned books while reminding us that it’s the nerds who rule the world!


     Only not so much, apparently. I tried reasoning with her, to no avail. I TRIED explaining that there was more to Stephen King than just genetically modified killer dogs and child-eating spiders, but she would not be moved. In the end, I just ended up going with writing on a novel by a then lesser known author, Richard Bachman. (That’s Stephen King’s pseudonym, y’all. It was ” The Long Walk”, and the joke’s on her, because they teach that shit in some college courses.)


     At this point, you’re probably asking yourself, what in the hell does a horror obsessed teenage dork have to do with word porn? Well, that’s where it started for me. It just totally pissed me off that anyone would discount ANY book without at least having read it first. The very idea that ANY book could be banned was enough to send my naive little mind into a fit of rage.


    So like any good teenager, I decided to stage my own little rebellion in the form of reading literally everything I wasn’t supposed to-every forbidden book I could get my hands on. My favorites were the paperback bodice rippers, and I spent most of my meager check-out girl paycheck on every new book the grocery store got in. If a chick was in danger of getting her dress torn right off her body by a pirate,knight,cowboy, or morally bankrupt millionaire, then by golly, you could count me in. I shamelessly consumed every one I could find.

 

Bodice ripper
This dude got a LITTLE carried away with the bodice-ripping.

 

 

     As an innocent teen, I had no shame over my sexual curiosity. The actual shame didn’t kick in until after I started college, and then it was less of a morality/sexuality thing and more of an issue of intellectual snobbery. “REAL” intellects didn’t read such “misogynistic crap”, because it taught women to be subordinate to men, not to mention that the overall writing in general was just sub-standard, at best,and not worthy of being grouped in with “REAL” literature. I’ll admit, that for a little while, I denied myself the indulgence of mindless entertainment out of sheer determination to prove that I was just as smart as the other bloodless bibliophiles.
   

     What I discovered was that I WAS actually pretty smart, and talented. My writing professors loved me because I was able to comprehend complex and abstract themes, and I was able to translate that into something that they felt was worth reading. Every time someone complimented me on my unique and inappropriately humorous writing style, I felt like I’d found my place in the world. When I won an essay contest by explaining why vultures are actually the heroes in  A Canticle for Leibowitz, that was the first time that I really said to myself, ” THIS. This right here is what I want to do with my life.

     And then nearly twenty years went by of my publishing….

 

Nothing (1)
Which would’ve been better than what I ACTUALLY wrote.

 

      Okay, not NOTHING. I wrote some articles here and there, did some technical stuff that probably three people will read, ever, and I filled up 500 notebooks with a lot of boring bullshit that will never see the light of day, unless I die suddenly and tragically, and my Mom pulls some John Kennedy Toole crap on me. In the event of that happening, advanced warning, don’t waste your money, unless you just LIKE reading shitty poems about the angst of a twenty-something white girl who just can’t get her shit together for no obvious reason.


     I THOUGHT that I had to push for something deeper. I THOUGHT that there was no point in writing anything if I couldn’t produce the next  To Kill a Mockingbird. It took me twenty wasted years to get over my own self-imposed limitations and realize that I was never going to write the next great novel, because quite frankly, writing about the tragic state of the world just bores the hell out of me, unless those tragedies revolve around two ( or three, or seven…) people getting it on and possibly slaying some demons on the side.

 

     When it finally occurred to me that I’m just a basic bitch who needs to write garbage, it also occurred to me that I wasn’t alone in that. Then, Amazon created this amazing format for people all over the world to self-publish, and basic bitches like myself were crawling out of the woodwork to tell their stories. Not only wasn’t I alone in my need for mindless entertainment, but I realized that there are THOUSANDS of us, and regardless of what the critics and intellectuals of the world may think, we need this outlet. In my middle years, I have finally come to the conclusion that ALL of it matters. Every story teaches something, even the smutty ones.
   

      I’ve always been pretty sexually liberated. In truth, I’ve always been a bit on the slutty side, and I truly like sex, and am down for pretty much whatever. Even as I write this, I can actually feel people balking at that admission, because even in an age where pretty much all of civilized society in general accepts that two consenting adults have the right to do whatever the hell they want behind closed doors, inhibitions are still very much a thing. Just because you know you HAVE the right to act on whatever mutually consensual adult thing you’re into, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve found the courage to act on it, and well, this makes me sad.

     A lot of people tend to criticize romance novels, because they give people “bad” ideas about what sex and relationships are really about. To that I say, who the heck are you to tell someone else what kind of fetishes they’re allowed to have? Allow me to answer for you; you’re not, no matter how good your intentions are.

     Quite frankly, on a personal note, I’m not even remotely into the whole ” emotionally stunted alpha male” persona that seems to dominate erotica novels these days. Even if he was the sexiest man on the planet, there’s no WAY I could ever fall in love with some guy who flat out told me that he lacked the ability to love, and was only good for sex. I mean, I’d probably sleep with him, sure. I might even let him tie me up now and again, but he would be firmly relegated to the “friends with benefits” category until such time as he completed a few intensive psycho therapy sessions. Renee has NO time for man children with mommy issues, no matter how many cool toys they have.

 

Fiddy
I love the way you make our whole relationship about me. 

 

     That being said, I have several good friends who do very well writing that very thing, and you know what, good for them. They found the thing that works for them, and it just so happens that they’ve found a bunch of people who are into the exact same thing. And, ya know, I get it- you spend twenty odd years married to the same guy who, while he might be a pretty decent husband in most respects, can’t make a solid decision about anything to save his life and is pretty much a one-trick pony in the bedroom. In our attempts to escape day to day monotony, we often seek a fantasy that has no foundation in reality, and that’s totally fine. I think most adults are perfectly capable of discerning fiction from truth, and drawing a line, and if they’re not, well it wasn’t the book they were reading that created the problem in the first place.


     In short, don’t be ashamed of the weird shit you’re in to. Own that weird shit. Embrace it,and use it to find your happy place. And while you’re at it, stop trying to tell others what their happy place should look like.

 

All the vibes
My happy place…



     My current happy place is in MMF romance. That’s right, ROMANCE, as in an actual relationship between two men and one woman. I  tried to write a short, smutty piece, and ended up discovering what I think is a pretty sweet little love story about some werewolves who are just trying to live, normal, happy lives. Of course, what kind of boring ass story would THAT be? There are obstacles, and smut, and more obstacles and shenanigans in between. I like it; it’s the story that I wanted to read, but couldn’t seem to find anywhere.



     So, check it out, if you like. I think it’s pretty dang awesome, but even if you don’t, that’s okay. Keep looking, find what speaks to you. If  Pride and Prejudice is your smut level, well, that’s okay, too. You do you. If you’re like me, and there’s pretty much no such thing as TOO much sex, WELL then…

 

 

 

A not-shitty cover is under construction. 🙂


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