Romance Junkies Haunted House Giveaway!

Romance Junkies is hosting a Haunted House Giveaway!  If you dare, come explore the spooky halls of their mysterious mansion and take advantage of the opportunity to win dozens of free books and prizes.  (If you’re looking for the chance to win an e-copy of DANCING WITH DANGER by yours truly, I suggest checking out the Magic Shop!)

Romantic Junkies Halloween Contest

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“Dancing with Danger” Reviewed by Long and Short of It Reviews

Long and Short of It Reviews has given my novel, Dancing with Danger, 4.5 Stars!

Dancing with Danger Cover

I loved these characters so much and wanted more, the story was a very enjoyable read. I’ll definitely look for other titles by Ms. Sheehan and I’d even love to see more of Marc and Lily. If you love a good romance, mixed with the potential danger of an unknown stalker, this is a perfect title to pick up!

– Asher, Long and Short of It Reviews

Check out the full review here.

Long and Short of It Reviews

I’ve been Interrogated by an LAPD Officer!

Kathy Bennett, former L.A.P.D. Officer and authentic crime/romantic suspense author, has me in the hot seat today over at her Interrogation Room.  I told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but I think some of my answers might have gotten me in trouble…

Kathy Bennett's Blog Kathy Bennett's Interrogation Room - Laura Sheehan

You can’t leave any comments (what did you expect? It’s an interrogation room, not a guest blog!), so if you have anything to say in my defense, please do so here!

Everyone is Beautiful at the Ballet

I’m guest-blogging at Jennifer Lynne’s blog today about self-image, mean boys, dance, and confidence.  Please join me, and feel free to share a story about your own personally inspirational moment.

http://jenniferlynne.com.au/guest-author-laura-sheehan

Jennifer Lynne Blog - Laura Sheehan Guest

Guest Blog: Action Movies are Really Romance Novels

Join me on Roz Lee’s blog today as I discuss how the best action movies are basically just romantic suspense novels on film.

Check out the blog to see my Top 10 Best Action Movies that are really Romantic Suspense Novels on Film.  Agree? Disagree? Comment today (May 8, 2012) for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card! (Which you will hopefully use to buy my novel, DANCING WITH DANGER, wink wink nudge nudge)

http://www.authorrozlee.blogspot.com/2012/05/laura-sheehan-dancing-with-danger.html?zx=4b22e3135254d521

Dancing with Danger (cover art) - by Laura Sheehan

Romance Novels: Haters Gonna Hate

For those of you not in the know, “hater” is a term that entered American slang vocabulary in the early 2000’s.  According to the top-rated definition on Urban Dictionary, a “hater” is:

“A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. So rather than be happy, they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.”

“Haters Gonna Hate,” is an equally awesome phrase.  Fairly self-explanatory, it’s a way of brushing off hostile criticism.  Think of it as the grittier big brother of the valley girl’s “Whatever!”
Haters Gonna Hate Africa

You can find "haters gonna hate" memes all over the internet, usually accompanied by a photo of someone strutting cockily.

So how does it relate to romance novels, you ask?

Well, I think it ought to be the new motto of romance authors.

It’s no secret that for many uninformed people, the term “romance novel,” is equivalent to “trashy.”  These haters assume inaccurately that romance novels are of lesser quality than other types of fiction, that the writing is poor, the characters shallow, the plot formulaic.

And yet books within the romance genre consistently nab the largest share of the consumer market year after year.  So why do they continue to carry the undeserved burden of being considered “lesser fiction?”

In my opinion, as both a voracious reader and author of many types of fiction, this misconception is due largely to the misunderstanding of what a romance novel actually is.

The most widely accepted definition of the genre is the one provided by the Romance Writers of America: Novels that have a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending.

It’s a simple definition that embraces a wide variety of fictional works.  Acclaimed literary novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre and more recent novels like Outlander are all, by this definition, romance novels.

But haters don’t think of Fabio and bodice-ripping covers when they think of Jane Austen, do they?  So why would they assume all romances are  formulaic, shallow pieces of literary junk?  I’ll tell you why:

Haters gonna hate.

Yes, some romance novels are poorly written.  And, yes, some publishing companies cater to readers who want a very specific type of book (e.g. “series” romances, like those published by some of Harlequin’s imprints, which tend to be shorter novels that can be easily categorized by setting and/or style), making them appear formulaic.
But that is the nature of the beast when a genre becomes as popular as romance has.  Approximately 75 million people read at least one romance a year, and the romantic fiction market makes over $1 billion in sales each year (RWA statistics).  With over 8,000 titles being released annually, you’re going to get a huge variety in quality of writing, and you can’t blame publishers for employing marketing strategies aimed at making it easier for readers to find exactly the book they are looking for.
And it’s also worth mentioning that those who are turned off by the rigid categorical definitions of some “series” romance novels, there is also a much bigger market of “single title” romances that can be longer in length and don’t need to fit into such strict plot/style guidelines.

This is a romance. (A series Harlequin American Romance, "His Valentine Triplets," by Tina Leonard)

But so is this. (A single-title paranormal romantic suspense, "Darkfever" by Karen Marie Moning)

Remember, the only requirements for a novel to be considered a romance is that it have a central love story and a happy ending.  Every genre has restrictions that allow it to be categorized.  Just as a mystery is “a novel in which the reader is challenged to solve a puzzle before the detective explains it at the end,” and science fiction deals with “future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities.” It doesn’t make each story within that genre formulaic.

This is also a romance. (An Amish, inspirational romance, "The Harvest of Grace," by Cindy Woodsmall)

And this, too. (A contemporary romantic comedy, "London Falling," by Emma Carr)

And even this. (Futuristic romantic suspense, "Vengeance in Death" by J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts)

Lumping all romance novels into one, easily-criticizable category is useless and unfair.  And judging an entire genre based on your opinion of one book is equally ridiculous.  Sort of like calling 2001: A Space Odyssey, Aliens, Star Trek and E.T.: The Extraterrestrial “trashy” because you hated Battlefield Earth.

Sure, romance isn’t for everyone.

There are plenty of genres I have no interest in.  For example, I am not a fan of horror. But just because I think Saw III is torture-porn, doesn’t mean I think The Exorcist is too.

There is a portion of the population who (sadly) think that romance is cheesy and that happy endings are unrealistic.  These people have my sympathy, and to them I say: Don’t read romance novels.

And to the rest of us, my fellow romance authors and the majority of the general book-buying population, I say: