Celebrating Romance—ALL Shades (Read a Romance Month!)
By Liz Everly
I’m so happy to be asked to be a part of Read a Romance Month (RARM) blogger day, especially during the week when we at Lady Smut are acknowledging one of our own—Alexa Day, whose short story “Turnabout” is published this week!
When I first started writing romance, I read about the “rules ” or “conventions” of the romance genre. Rules about which time periods and settings to write about, rules about how many sex scenes to include, and rules about the mixing of races. Write outside of these conventions and you’d have a hard time snagging an agent or a publisher.
When I wrote my first historical romance, I was inspired by an actual interracial romance where I live. It’s on the books—an ex-slave (Edward Tarr) and white woman who were married and living in the Shenandoah Valley in the 1760s. I mentioned this to my agent, who said, “That will never sell.” And she was probably right. Unfortunately.
But things are changing—very slowly. We’ve discussed this a bit on Lady Smut. We love our men and women of color—Asian, African-American, Latino—and some of us are writing about interracial romances. This week on Lady Smut we are celebrating Alexa Day’s Turnabout, which features an African-American woman and a white man.
Here is the blurb for the story:
The mistress of the manor will finally have the man she longs for … but only if she obeys his every command.
Sugarcane heiress Chloe Newton said goodbye to indentured servant Peter Darrow with her first kiss, on a hillside one long-ago summer night as mechanized cane cutters worked the fields below them. Now Peter’s returned, no longer a boy and no one’s servant, to take charge of the fleet of machines that work Chloe’s estate. On Turnabout Day, Chloe takes on the uniform and duties of a maid, and she seeks the courage to offer Peter more than a celebratory drink. By giving in to his commands, she’ll surrender to his need and become mistress of her own desire.
In my own books, one of my characters is Sanj, who is gorgeous, dark, sexy Indian man featured in all three of my SAFFRON NIGHTS books. He has a serious affair with a white American woman, then marries a white British woman. His story is mostly told in the the second book in the series, CRAVINGS, which is set in Ecuador and Saint Lucia. Plus, I write about many different nationalities in my EIGHT LAYS AROUND THE WORLD SERIES.
For me, variety is the spice of life. Why shouldn’t our romances celebrate diversity? In a genre where we examine love and romance, isn’t it time to embrace all forms of it? From all people? Cultures? Sexualities?
When Fifty Shades of Grey swept through the charts, it felt to me like that was another kind of celebration and acceptance. Even though I remain unimpressed by the actual writing in the books, I was thrilled that many people who have felt a sense of shame about their proclivities were now celebrating them. I am also ecstatic that it became a little more okay to say among SOME circles “I write erotic romance.”
It’s a fantastic and wild time to be writing (and reading) romance‑whether it’s erotic, sweet, spicy, paranormal, and so on, good romance gets at the heart of what makes us human. Let’s celebrate, my friend.
Here are the questions asked of all of the bloggers participating in Read a Romance Month:
Liz Everly writes under a pen name to escape expectations and to embrace all possibilities. She’s the author of the SAFFRON NIGHTS SERIES (e-Kensington), the EIGHT LAYS AROUND THE WORLD serial, and a contributor in LADY SMUT’S BOOK OF DARK DESIRES. She also writes regional bestselling cookbooks and Agatha-award nominated traditional mysteries under her own name. On any given day, you may find her researching and writing about murder, sex, or cooking techniques. She’d not have it any other way. Please stop by her website for more information. Twitter @Lizeverly1. She’s a member of RWA, Kiss of Death chapter, and Washington Romance Writers. Contact her at Lizeverly@rocketmail.com.