Friday, May 28, 2010

Guest Blogger CARIDAD PINEIRO

A funny thing happened on the way to this blog tour . . .

My blog host wanted to surprise me with some stamps displaying my book cover. Sadly, the postage provider denied the request based on the following criteria:

--- Design may be considered obscene, pornographic, or sexually suggestive, including most depictions of artistic nudity.
--- Design includes material that XXXXX believes would hurt its reputation.

It’s not the first time a romance cover has elicited such a response. Some romance novels have been banned by certain stores due to their covers and it’s no secret that at least one large chain has enough power to suggest changes to both book titles and covers.

So why is it that romance novels get such scrutiny? Why is it that an assortment of men’s magazines can show so much more skin and yet face no such censorship? Or for that matter, why is that romance novels have earned monikers such as “trash” or “porn? and that some men believe that romances instill unrealistic relationship ideals in woman?

Cutting to the chase – romance novels oftentimes contain sexual matter, sometimes explicit, but there are also many romances without sex or that are inspirational. Romance novels do portray relationships that are idealistic, whether the hero happens to be a vampire, Navy SEAL or pirate. In fact, all romance novels have one thing in common – they believe in a happily-ever-after. That’s the big payoff for romance readers – an emotionally fulfilling ending.

The question is: Does a woman taking control of her life to find emotional (and physical) satisfaction warrant censure?

I hope your answer to that question is a big “No.”

Why shouldn’t women read novels where they can identify with the heroine, cheer with her when she accomplishes her goals , enjoy the depiction of a relationship that is fulfilling, and along the way, be entertained? And as for those critics who say that women can’t separate fiction from real life, do we ask men who read Ian Fleming the same thing? Do we worry that men may slip into the persona of James Bond because they are not intelligent enough to understand that they are not superspies?

Of course not. To imply that women cannot make that distinction is blatant chauvinism. Now we’ve finally gotten to the crux of why romance novels get trashed – because they are totally dedicated to women and those things that women consider important.

By now you are probably wondering why I’m so passionate about the romance industry. The answer is simple: I’m passionate about the romance industry because I’m passionate about women.

I want to write books that entertain and enlighten women and by writing romance I am doing just that. Not to mention that the romance industry is mostly run by women. From publishers to editors to agents to authors to readers, women rule the roost.

Another reason why romances and the romance industry are likely subject to chauvinistic attack.

Rather silly considering that 2009 romance sales were estimated to be $1.36 billion (yes, BILLION) and that nearly 74.8 million people read at least one romance in 2008. In addition, romance was the top performing category on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly best-seller lists.

What’s even sadder is that romances are unfortunately often attacked by women. It’s not unusual for me to hear another female say to me at a book signing that they do not read “that trash.” I even had a recent incident where the subtle and not so subtle tones of a female interview host conveyed dismay that she had to question a paperback writer of “questionable” commercial fiction.

Bottom line: Don’t judge a book or author by a cover. Today’s romances are far different from the five and dime novels that launched the genre. Today’s romances deal with real life issues that are of interest to women. Romance novels satisfy and entertain and the romance industry economically supports a large number of women in various positions in publishing.

So do something for women’s liberation today – pick up a romance novel!

http://www.caridad.com/

13 comments :

  1. A wonderful post, and I love the title of your website!

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  2. Unfortunately I think a lot of potential readers *do* judge a book or author by its cover and while good romance stories have evolved significantly from the old "bodice-ripping" stereotypes, their covers haven't kept pace. I wish the design staff at publishing houses would make an effort to produce covers that suggest there's a story behind the cover that will appeal to the intelligence as well as the passion of today's women. As long as they depict women flaunting their barely-contained breasts or being ravished by a handsome bronze-chested man, the stereotype is perpetuated and its women are not truly emancipated.

    How's that for a soapbox stand??? ::climbing down now with an embarrassed grin::

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  3. P.S. I apologize that I commented hastily and didn't scroll down to discover the cover of "Fury Calls" until after I clicked "submit". My comment wasn't meant as a criticism specifically of its cover, but as a generalization of what I see on bookshelves. Despite my own opinion, I do realize that 74.8 million people probably don't share it since they bought the books regardless of their cover designs.

    Thank you for an interesting and thought-provoking post, Caridad and Joylene.

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  4. not a problem, Carol. You're so funny.

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  5. I have had the opportunity to post Caridad and a few of her books. What I get a hoot about all this is that I like posting her photo with the book cover. To me, she looks like a first grade teacher and not this author of all this rampant lusting and adventure. The two don't fit in my brain. Actually the book in question showed the belly button and one of those disgusting flat belly. you know the ones I mean. ha ha ha they should be outlawed. ha
    Jo Ann
    p.s. Caridad is a lawyer!!!!

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  6. A good post, Caridad and Joylene.
    Ah, the stereotypes about women's interests. What about all the men who cannot tell the difference between sports hype and reality? A good point about the James Bond syndrome -- I've met a few men who try to play the role.

    Chris H.

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  7. Thanks for the inside info, JoAnn. Wow, a lawyer. Why doesn't that sound surprising? LOL.

    Chris, you are one of those rare fellows who writes awesome female characters. Hat's off to you.

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  8. I went to my local Barnes & Noble last year looking for a book on writing. I found about a hundred of them squished on five tiny shelves.

    I turned to read the titles on the bookshelves extending the entire length of the store, easily half a city block. Two titles only, Romance and New Releases.

    Now that's a lot of money invested in something people don't want to read...LOL!

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  9. A funny thing happened on the way to this blog tour . . .

    I enjoyed this very much.
    I'm not into Romance books myself, but I certainly wouldn't trash them. - I'm hopeless at writing romance, and that is probably because I never read them. Everyone to their own genre, I say. I agree with the writer on stereotyped covers. How much more interesting it would be to see a cover relevant to the story within. More power to your elbow Caridad Pineiro

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  10. Hi Karen. My DH reads only Westerns. Every time I go to town, I search, but to no avail.

    Carole, I've watched lots of Romance movies, but I don't read Romance either. Caridad has managed to extend her genre to beyond mere Romance by including paranormal. Her books sound intriguing.

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  11. Thanks so much for visiting and for your comments about your reading tastes and covers. I appreciate you taking the time to come by!

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  12. Thank you for being my guest, Caridad. It was fun. Best of luck with your career. I hope you can come back again.

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Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come in and sit for while. We will talk about writing. We will share our dreams. Then I will serve tea and cookies. Home made and Gluten Free.