Sunday, January 30, 2011


Romance writers take a lot of flack and much mockery. One of my daughter's friends said she thought it was cool that her mother wrote smut, joking I assume. I also assume she'd never read my books which by today's standards contain fairly tame sex scenes. To me, the story and characters are everything, and the sex just something two contemporary people in love would do. And I can handle a little kidding.

But recently something more unsettling happened to me as I attended a meeting totally unrelated to writing. We were there to critique each other's art. When I finished showing my paintings and getting advice, I mentioned my new book, Wish for a Sinner, had come out and passed around a copy. No hope of sales there. None of them bought the first book. For artists, they are remarkably conservative.

Then, the next person took the floor. She announced proudly she had nothing new to show as she had been busy working for the Tea Party and handed around some scribbles from her notebook and a paperdoll she had cut from the page of a book. She said the book was garbage and so she'd cut it up. All this time, I kept my outraged former librarian lips zipped. Furthermore, she said, she'd burned a pile of books she considered garbage in her fireplace. Okay, that set me off. I had to ask why she didn't simply donate them to the library booksale as other people might have enjoyed them since there are all kinds of tastes in reading. She replied she wanted no one else to read them and so what if I thought she was a censor. I said, "Of the very worst kind." "What if someone burned a piece of your work that had taken you months to create, how would you feel?" I asked. She said she wouldn't care if they'd paid the price - but somehow I doubt this.

We live in scary times. I can take some teasing about writng romance where the endings are always happy. I think we need happy endings more than ever when some people believe it is their right to burn books.

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