Reading Romance Novels

We’ve had some really glorious spring weather. Winter stubbornly lingered through most of April, but once spring finally took hold, it’s been a truly lovely few weeks. Yesterday was no exception. Unfortunately, I had a lot of work to do and was tired from the sleepless night, but the walk I took with Comet was perfectly warm, sunny, and dry. After her random setback a few days ago, she seems to be back on track with where she was, although I still feel residual anxiety from that bad day and nervous every time she gets up that her refusal to walk will reappear.

It’s Thursday, so it’s lawn mowing day for me. The grass has been growing so quickly that once a week is barely sufficient, but we have such a large yard that anything more frequent would just start to be unmanageable from a time standpoint. The hardest part for me is starting the old mower. Ben can usually get it on his first try, and sometimes I’m able to get it going after a few hard pulls, but other times, I try unsuccessfully for ten minutes and then give up. It’s an old mower and being so short and ill-equipped to really employ lots of power with my yank, so I often fail. Once I get it going, I enjoy the mowing itself. I have to wear good ear plugs to drown out the incessant hum of the motor, but as long as those are in place, I’m good to go. I usually have to stop halfway through the backyard to run in and use the bathroom, but fortunately, it’s always easier to restart as long as it hasn’t fully cooled off by the time I’m back. Once in a while, I get distracted by something inside and don’t get back to it for an hour or so, by which time, it’s a bear to restart. Hopefully today, it will go smoothly.

I have assignments to do today for my online writing classes. I usually start them at lunch and then finish them when I’m done with my job in the afternoon. I tried to get all the work done yesterday, but I got distracted by researching romance writing conferences and conferences for romance readers. I think I’m in the minority but I actually hate the sex scenes or any descriptive writing about physical intimacy. As soon as I see the passage going there, I jump ahead until the story arc picks up again and the smutty parts are over. I prefer the “sweet” romances or “wholesome” ones as they are called, which reach their steaminess peak in a kiss or with a vague allusion to sex. Unfortunately, most contemporary romances that are otherwise very intriguing and enjoyable reads for me contain at least one overly descriptive sexual romp. While I think these parts are some readers favorite sections (because in all fairness, they’re one of the defining criteria that distinguishes this genre from general fiction), they are my least favorite and make me so uncomfortable that I skip them when possible. I’m not a total prude, yet I believe intimate moments between two people should remain private; languid descriptions of the specific physical details that occur are unnecessary. When I read them, I feel like an unwelcome voyeur. I appreciate the hints of sexual encounters, even if blatant, (without them, my brain would miss the author’s intention with the scene), but I don’t need to read about someone’s nipple (or other part) becoming hard! These type of scenes are the sole reason that I wouldn’t be comfortable (or successful) writing a romance story.

As I mentioned, there is the “wholesome” subgenre, which is also called “inspirational” or “Christian.” The latter seems like the most accurate descriptor because in addition to not including any sexual innuendos or descriptive romps, they usually, these books usually include references to God, prayer, and faith. Many times, one of the characters has struggled in her relationship with God, but finds that her faith is restored through the deepening connection with her religious love interest. I’ve read a few books in this subcategory, and as long as you can get over the sometimes forced incorporations of Christian-based themes and terms, they can be just as well-written and enjoyable as standard contemporary romance books. The first one I read in this subgenre was listed as an “inspirational romance,” which, coming from my background in competitive athletics, I assumed meant it would have some story arc that revolved around overcoming challenges or motivating for optimal performance. As such, it was a bit surprising when the story focused on the protagonist’s renewal of faith in God and return to the church; however, it’s all fine with me.

After today, there’s just one more day before the long weekend, so I’m excited for that. Memorial Day is one of the rare Monday holidays that Ben has off. I will work in the early morning, but after that, I plan to take the day off to spend with Ben. Even though we’ve seen a bit more of each other lately with some of his time off, it still never feels like enough.

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