Happy Dance

I left my desk for an hour today, and came back to find Twitter had exploded with the news that Yes, I can has book deal. I’m going to be writing a book for Sourcebooks for early 2012 titled, “Everything I Need to Learn about Romance, I Learned from Romance Novels.” It’ll be nonfiction, timed for a near-Valentine’s Day release, I think.

The book will look at different stages of relationships and how romance novels can serve as guideposts to people navigating normal relationship stuff. One thing that has always ticked me off is the accusation that reading romance novels gives women unrealistic expectations of real life, and I love having the opportunity to dismantle that hogwash page by page. I’ll be reaching out to authors, referring to scenes and books, incorporating real situations that people face – and I hope revealing more of the awesome women and men who write and read romance.

I’m excited and intimidated, which I presume is normal. But also: happy dance commences… now!


General Bitching...

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Cakes says:

    YAY! Congratulations!

  2. 2
    Fiamma says:

    ROCK ON! Well good for you and you get down with your bad self.
    I think it is utter crap as well that romance novels set unrealistic expectations. For me personally, it has turned me on, made me more amorous with the hubby and helped with my own writing. Respect for the genre lacks and people need to understand that there are some stellar romances out there that need to be read. I hope you bring more readers into the fold.

  3. 3
    Robyn Davis says:

    Congrats! I can’t wait to read it!!

  4. 4
    Courtney says:

    Wow, that is awesome news. CONGRATS!!! I can’t wait to read it.

  5. 5
    laurelmontgomery@yahoo.com says:

    Congrats! That’s awesome.

    AND. I think the notion that setting your standards on fictional ideals is unrealistic is CRAP. Most of us end up slightly lower than our ideal but striving for the ideal lifts us slightly higher than we would have ended up. This is not only a romance axiom but applies to character as well.

    It’s when we conclude that the ideal is so far out of reach that it is completely irrational to think we should approach it that we have really given up on our own lives.

    The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe: I will never have Lucy’s total faith

    Harry Potter will never have his sheer bravery

    Huckleberry Finn I will never be completely immune to social expectations that clash with my personal convictions

    And any Austen heroine? Honestly, in the time they lived in, hell yeah I might have married a less than stellar soul mate for material reasons. That’s what you did. Unless you were the MC in an Austen book and then you held out for better.

    What’s so wrong with applying that to our real lives? I’m better for holding myself up to fictional standards I admire. I’m happier for it. I hope the same thing for others and anyone who snorts at the ridiculous romantic ideals in our favorite stories has just given up.

  6. 6

    Woot! Awesome news, congratulations! *joins happy dance*

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Scorpio M. says:

    Totally cool, congrats!

  9. 9
    Betsy says:

    Yay!!!  I am doing my own little happy dance in your honor (and on my own behalf since I will be SO PSYCHED to read this book!)

  10. 10
    Kristin says:

    Fabulous, wonderful news.  I can’t wait to read it!

  11. 11

    Woohoo!  Fab news, girl!  And I agree 100%.  Romance novels have never caused me to set unrealistic expectations.  I’ve been reading them since I was a kid, and, at 45, I’m one of the most relentlessly practical people I know.  Rather than giving me unrealistic expectations, I think the romance novels have given me:

    1) escape from crappy stuff going on IRL
    2) new ways of looking at relationships
    3) possible ways to approach problem-solving in relationships I might not have thought of on my own

    I don’t confuse fact with fiction, and neither do most of the women I know who read romance.  We are all perfectly capable (as comments on this blog have shown many times) of saying “yeah, he’s hawt, hawt, hawt in fiction, but I wouldn’t want anything to do with him in real life.” 

    The best fictional relationships aren’t perfect, and romances don’t tell readers they’re going to have a perfect ones themselves.  When you read that perfect HEA scene, if you choose to think of the characters riding off together without ever another negative word between them, that’s great, but I doubt you believe your own life will be that way.  You might think it would be nice, you might decide to try harder to work toward that goal, but in the end books are escapism. 

    I think there’s a fine line between learning from something and believing it whole hog.  I have learned a great deal from fiction over the years, but I’ve always understood I was reading a story.

  12. 12

    That’s fantabulous! Super big congratulations!

  13. 13
    D.L. says:

    Kick ass!  Very exciting news- I can’t wait to read it.

  14. 14
    Diana says:

    Congratulations, Sarah!  Looking forward to reading it.

  15. 15
    JaniceG says:

    Mazal tov!!! I look forward to reading it.

  16. 16
    Trai says:

    Congrats, Sarah! I’d love to read it in 2012! :)

  17. 17
    Lexie says:

    Yay!! The beagles and I are doing a snow dance for you!!!

  18. 18

    I’m joining you in your happy dance!  Can’t wait to read this one.

  19. 19
    Sarah Frantz says:

    Everything I know about relationship communication I learned from romance novels: always talk about a problem; always make sure you both actually understand each other; don’t stop until the problem is fixed; revisit it if necessary, but do it all positively. And I’ve been with DH for 20 years, so I think I must be doing something right!

    Congratulations! That’s so wonderful!

  20. 20

    What wonderful news! Congratulations!

  21. 21
    terripatrick says:


    Now I go into my prayerful mode of thanksgiving.  There is hope.  Someday, maybe Smart Bitches, will be able to exert enough force to bring change to the last barrier between romance writers and their potential readers – those really cheezy covers. 

    Either get the readers to embrace the cheezy covers with the secret that awesome stories lie within the pages, or strong arm the publishing world to stop selling out on good stories by hiding them within cheezy covers.

    You go girl!  Ooommm….

  22. 22
    Bibliophile says:

    Congratulations! Looking forward to reading it.

  23. 23

    Congratulations!  I absolutely loved “Beyond Heaving Bosoms”, so I’ll be snapping this one up asap.

  24. 24


    I was re-reading Janice Radway’s Reading the Romancerecently (the 1991 edition) and she rather grudgingly observes that romance readers keep saying that they’ve learned things from their romances. For example:

    Dot contended in a later conversation that, strangely enough, it is the bad romances that most often start the women thinking. A bad romance, the reader should recall, is often characterized by a weak or gullible heroine. In reading some of those “namby-pamby books about the women who lets the man dominate them,” Dot explained, the readers “are thinking ‘they’re nerds.’ And they begin to reevaluate. ‘Am I acting like that?’” They begin to say to themselves, she added, “Hey, wait a minute – my old man kinda tends to do this.” And then “because women are capable of learning from what they read,” they begin “to express what they want and sometimes refuse to be ordered around any longer.”
    In attempting to corroborate Dot’s assertion by questioning her customers about this issue, I found that most agree that romance reading does change a women, although very few would go beyond that simple statement. I could not discern whether they could not articulate how they had been affected or whether they did not want to talk about it for fear of admitting something that might then lead to further change. They made it clear, however, that they believe their self-perception has been favorably transformed by their reading. They are convinced, in fact, that romance fiction demonstrates that “intelligence” and “independence” in a woman make her more attractive to a man. Although marriage is still the idealized goal in all of the novels they like best, that marriage is always characterized by the male partner’s recognition and appreciation of the heroine’s saucy assertion of her right to defy outmoded conventions and manners. This fiction encourages them to believe that marriage and motherhood do not necessarily lead to loss of independence or identity.
    Such feelings of hope and encouragement, it must be pointed out, are never purchased cheaply. Dot and her readers understandably pay a substantial price in guilt and self-doubt as a result of their temporary refusal to adopt the self-abnegating stance that is so integral a part of the roles of wife, mother, and housewife which they otherwise embrace as acceptable. ( 102)

    I do find it ironic, given that last sentence, that Radway, in her acknowledgments, concludes like this:

    My final debt is perhaps the most difficult one to acknowledge because of its very intangibility. My husband, Scott, has helped in so many ways, at once practical and emotional, that it would be foolish to try and list them all here. I hope it is enough to say that I could not have finished this had it not been for his understanding, encouragement, and, above all else, his interest. This book is dedicated to him with love. (x)

    Is this part of the “self-abnegating stance” of a wife? And isn’t it interesting how she “could not articulate” her debt to him fully?

    Good luck with the book, and I hope you can “articulate” many of the things that romance readers learn from romances (whether “good” romances or “bad” ones), as well as demonstrating that we don’t always “pay a substantial price in guilt and self-doubt”.

  25. 25

    And you started out wth a little blog you didn’t think would go anywhere much! Congratulations – a great mind with writing talent to go with it!

  26. 26
    Deb says:

    Congratulations—keep dismantling the stereotypes!

    And when can we pre-order?

  27. 27
    Nadia says:

    Congratulations!  I’m looking forward to reading it.

    You know, my immature teen self who inhaled categories and historicals like they had an expiration date might have developed a few unrealistic expectations.  Which I count as a good thing.  After all, if the boys around me couldn’t possibly measure up to Travis Grant or Ruark Beauchamp, then I certainly didn’t want to hop into bed with their awkward pimply asses. LMAO!

    And then I grew up and realized that 32 year old billionaire industrialists and gentlemen pirates were scarce to be found. ;)  But the foundation of how I expected a man to treat a woman was set; yes, from examples in real life but not the least from reading about the good, the bad, and the Angry Boner Man.

  28. 28
    scribblingirl says:

    WOOHOOOO!!! Good for you!

  29. 29
    Terry Odell says:

    Sorry I’m so late. Moving prep has severely cut into computer time. But add my congrats. I did see it on Twitter yesterday, and may or may not have said something there. Total brain fog as I sort and pack and get ready for a massive garage sale.

  30. 30
    SB Sarah says:

      Someday, maybe Smart Bitches, will be able to exert enough force to bring change to the last barrier between romance writers and their potential readers – those really cheezy covers.

    But.. what would we giggle at? And come on now – don’t eliminate the potential for sequels: “Everything I Know About Mullets, I learned From Romance Novels!”

    And @Laura Vivanco – oh, mercy, I’m going to have to reread Radway. My dentist is going to abnegate responsibility for my teeth after I grind them in rage at assertions of my own guilt and self-doubt.

    Thank you for the congrats, y’all!

Comments are closed.

↑ Back to Top