Romance Positive Press Hits USA Today

Deirdre Donahue of USA Today profiled romance novelists Eloisa James and Julia Quinn, and feature some random bloggers (us!) in an article about how smart women read and write romance.

Oh holy crap, I can’t tell you how proud I am to be part of romance-positive coverage.

Looking at the intelligent and fierce women who write and read our favorite genre, Donahue’s piece lets James, Quinn, and Harlequin CEO Donna Hayes speak for themselves. Their quotes are frank and supportive of the genre – and reveal what we’ve known all along: that we’re clever, savvy, and so damn intelligent. The print version includes even more pictures – including us! Woo hoo!

My very favorite quote illustrates and completely smacks the hell out of all those insults we deal with as romance fans:

“When I saw the invitation to speak at Princeton, I said, ‘Holy crap, we have arrived,’ ” says Regis, 56, an English professor at McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., and author of the seminal text, A Natural History of the Romance Novel….

Today, in addition to his poetry classes, [DePaul University English professor Eric] Selinger teaches courses on the romance genre.

Is it awkward to be a man doing so?

Oh no, Selinger says. His gender makes his life much easier. “Nobody thinks I’m a spinster or trapped in a bad marriage, or I’m betraying feminism,” he says. “People don’t judge me as much.”

I suppose it’s a bit too much to hope that after more kickass article like this one, readers and writers of romance who are women won’t be judged much either.

Either way – this article is one to be proud of. The print version is on newsstands and outside hotel room doors all over America right now, and that kind of ubiquity plus positive romance coverage = win win win. Well played, Ms. Donahue. Well played.


General Bitching...

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  1. 1

    That was an amazing article.  Well done for the romance genre!  Yes, SMART WOMEN do READ and WRITE romance novels!! :-)

  2. 2
    Barb Ferrer says:

    Ha!  And with the Nora ad declaring #1 NYTimes Bestselling author right below.  Boo-YA!

  3. 3
    Melissa S. says:

    I’ll have to send my mom and email and ask her to save the USA Today from today so I can read it when I go to visit next week.

  4. 4
    Gail D says:

    It is a totally cool article. Something to be proud of. Embarrassment? Why should we be? Geesh…

    I think this link will work, for those who want to read it online. It worked for me:

  5. 5
    Tracy says:

    Awesome article!  I didn’t realize you gals had been doing this (romance blogging) for 4+ years.  Way to go!  Love the blog!

  6. 6
    katiebabs says:

    How many copies of USA Today did you buy? *G*

  7. 7
    Tammy says:

    Bitchin’, bitches.  This article rocks.

  8. 8
    Laura (in PA) says:

    We get USA Today delivered, and I saw this article while I was enjoying my breakfast. I was so excited to see SB pictures on page 1 of the Life section! Awesome article.

  9. 9
    Lori says:

    This no doubt says something bad about me, but the thing that stood out to me was the idea that Carol Bly apparently had no problem with the fact that her husband wrote Iron John, but never got over her daughter writing romance novels. Seriously?

  10. 10
    Jan says:

    Wonderful article. About damn time. Great press and go Bitches!!!

  11. 11
    Karen says:

    Great article! I just sent the link to a friend who is part of a long-established book club. I’d already encouraged her to have her group try Lord of Scoundrels and she said they choose a list of books each fall for the next year. Maybe this article will nudge them into new territory (and it won’t hurt that Candy is at Lewis & Clark, seeing as how the book club is in Portland).

  12. 12

    Great article!  I love the Selinger quote.  WTG.

  13. 13
    Julia Quinn says:

    Eric definitely has the best quote.  So funny!


    P.S.  I had no idea our pics were going to be in it!  I read the article on line last night and only saw Eloisa.  Thank you so much for posting the photo!

  14. 14
    Janet W says:

    Not to be the skunk at the picnic, but I don’t agree—this is what I posted to the Book Lovers Message board …

    Soapbox Alert: As much as I liked the article, it still smacked of validation through academe …
    Posted by Janet W on July 7, 2009, 3:01 pm, in reply to “USA Today covers Romance Novels as Scholarly subject”

    “Oh, she went to Harvard, oh, she’s a professor, oh, he’s a professor, oh, The New Yorker liked Nora”—these books, writers, themes and genres were great reading before the USA Today Seal of Approval and they’ll be great after the bandwagon has moved on. I’m sick of all the Oh My Gawd hand-clapping—it’s so Sally Fields: “Oh, you like me, you really like me.”

    One of the review websites recently had a quiz—when your review is totally different from the prevailing opinion, how does that make you feel? Put me firmly in the “I don’t give a sh$t column” and that goes for articles like this. Yeah, it was interesting, and absolutely, thanks for the link … but Harvard and married to doctors and enough books to fill up Giants Stadium 4 times don’t, imo, make it OK to


    stop sneering at books that give people a lotta pleasure. Where did they get off sneering before?

    Whew, soapbox speech over … but I see this a copycat journalism and an attempt to “explain” why romance sales are soaring. We were here reading before this pursuit of the professorial seal of approval … that’s how I see it … it just rubs me the wrong way. What did Georgette Heyer do? Or Jane Austen? What does it matter: they were FABULOUS writers and that’s what should matter.

  15. 15
    Claire says:

    So, something bothered me a little with this article’s reference to SB Sarah:

    “Wendell works for a Manhattan financial corporation while raising two kids with her husband, the valedictorian of their high school class.”

    Why is she more validated as an intelligent human being because her husband is crazy smart too?  This is nothing against Sarah or her hubby (good for sarah for snagging the best and the brightest!), this is more about the idea that a woman’s intelligence is more valid because her partner is intelligent as well. 

    They mention something similar with Julia Quinn.  Because she is married to a doctor, she is considered a smart woman.  Does the profession of her husband even need to be mentioned?

    I duno.  I might be reading into it too deeply, but it still rubbed me the wrong way.

  16. 16
    Lori says:

    They mention something similar with Julia Quinn.  Because she is married to a doctor, she is considered a smart woman.  Does the profession of her husband even need to be mentioned?

    The mention of Julia Quinn being married to a doctor wasn’t to validate her intelligence. It was to point out that she has an up close & personal view of what she missed by quitting med school and can say definitely that she made the right decision by becoming a romance writer instead.

    I did wonder abut the reference to SB Sarah’s hubbie though.

  17. 17
    Glynis says:

    I read the article on-line, then read the comments. Goodness. What a lot of nosy busybodies with too much time on their hands.

    I am particularly amused by the commentator who loves spy novels, but can’t abide romance novels because they’re formulaic. Once the laughter stopped, I realized that only very insecure people need to put down others’ tastes in order to elevate their own.

    Poor things.

  18. 18
    Roxann Delaney says:

    Mega congrats on the article mention!!  You do us all proud!

  19. 19
    Jeanette says:

    Love the article, but the comments on that article are teeming with open condescension.  There’s even this little gem:

    tinsmith: Ignorant literature for ignorant readers. BUT, a need is being met and fortunes being made so…  Like religion, more opiates for the masses.

    Yuck.  FAIL, FAIL, FAIL.  Also – what does this scholar read that is so awesome and erudite and worthy of approval?  I just hate that people make these ridiculous, sweeping assumptions about topics they know nothing about.  So, we’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go, I guess.

  20. 20
    Mary Lynn says:

    Congratulations to the Romance genre and Authors thereof – long overdue.

    Gail D – thank you for link.

  21. 21
    Moni Draper says:

    Loved the article.  Want your book.  Even my reading-phobic husband read and liked the article.  Kudos to you both for representing our genre so well.


  22. 22
    Elizabeth says:

    I was at the Princeton conference, and appreciated the wit, the laughter, and – yes – the scholarship.
    – I’ve been meaning to go look up that romance in ancient Greece . . . but it gets added in my TBR pile!
    – I’m also ready to read more about Georgian and Regency home life; not to write myself, but to be able to appreciate the little background my favorite authors include.
    My personal field as an undergrad was medieval history, with a senior thesis on a woman mystic/hermit of the 15th c. But I don’t want to read novels of the celibate life in those days!

  23. 23

    YAY!! Positive press for my lifelong addiction! Congrats to you for being included.

  24. 24
    SugarSpice says:

    I was so excited to see this here, it only adds more to my argument with the bf that he should read romance. (Still failing there, but he’ll come around eventually.)

    I love how there has been so much positive press about romance recently, it gives me the warm fuzzies all over.

  25. 25
    Sandra says:

    “Nobody thinks I’m a spinster or trapped in a bad marriage or betraying feminism”.  No, they just assume he’s gay. Spamword run76:  He better run because 76 infuriated feminists are out for his blood.

  26. 26
    Sasha says:

    The revelation of the day: Robert Bly is Eloisa James’ pappy. It’s like two far sides of my bookshelves colliding.

  27. 27
    SB Sarah says:

    Regarding the valedictorian comment: you have no idea how annoyed Hubby is about that. HATES when that gets mentioned. OMG. HATES it. His mom still talks about it.

    The funny thing is, it’s part of the larger tale of how I discovered romance, and yet again I learn the important lesson: one out of every 400 words you say on the record will be used. In this case – one about poor Hubby.

    The full story of how I discovered romance involves my being all insecure as a teenager in high school and seeing one of the valedictorians (there were two. I married the other one but not this one because she’s a girl and you can’t do that in Pennsylvania) reading a really thick paperback novel, and thinking yet again that I wasn’t too smart since I never read books that thick. She introduced me to romance – ha! I just found it at AAR – a long ass time ago I was the Reader of the Day. Take a look here and search for “June 7th, 2002”.

    So that’s the full story. I admit to being snortily amused at that part of the article.

  28. 28
    heathero says:

    I am particularly amused by the commentator who loves spy novels, but can’t abide romance novels because they’re formulaic. Once the laughter stopped, I realized that only very insecure people need to put down others’ tastes in order to elevate their own.

    Loved this comment Glynis! I work at a library & was a English Lit major, & I cannot tell you how frustrated I am with book snobs. It amazes me that anyone would discourage reading because of genre taste. And sadder still are the mothers, looking for “clean” books for their daughters, that would rather have me recommend books with violence than love.

  29. 29
    concinnity says:


  30. 30
    ks says:

    Thanks for the link.  Loved the article, and especially that it included two of my absolute favorite romance authors, but the comments on it are just awful.

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