Picture yourself happily on an excursion to Barnes and Noble, running hither and yon perusing the romance novel section. Your hair cascades in waves of shimmering gold down your back. The soft glow of the overhead fluorescent lights weaves buttery shafts of light through your thick tousled mane and caresses your milky white skin, like a lover’s touch. A familiar name catches the interest of your wide, thickly fringed, emerald green eyes. A throaty moan escapes, uninhibited, from your lush, soft, red lips. You bend with catlike grace, swooping down on your prey, long slender thighs encased in unyielding blue jeans tremble with expectation. Your favorite romance author has a new book out! This mistress of the written word who takes you to heights unknown and makes your spirit soar!
Excitement races through your veins; a hot rush of literary desire floods your pounding heart! Shaky hands wrap around the smooth, shiny surface of this leather bound treasure destined to be yours! Slender fingers thumb hastily to the back cover, seeking ANY tidbit of information on your beloved romance wizard.
Your hand clutches your creamy throat in dismay, your eyes fly open in wide surprise; what’s this you read? Your Love Guru currently resides on a horse ranch in Texas with HIS wife and two children!
It’s more common than you think, and while women continue to dominate the genre, more and more frequently those lusty men we love to read about are now writing about women, giving voice to a whole new age of romance!
For many years now Leigh Greenwood has hidden, cloak-and-dagger like, behind his very gender-neutral name! Well not quite that deceptively, but I might never have questioned HIS gender, had I not begun to research this article. Leigh, to his credit, has 29 published novels and began writing because he heard women made good money writing historical romance. He must be doing something right, if the awards he’s received for his writing have anything to say about it!
Jennifer Wilde’s Love's Tender Fury published by Warner Books in 1983 was an enormous success, but Jennifer had a secret. Jennifer was Tom E. Huff, along with a few other pseudonyms thrown into the mix. Though deceased now, Tom began to write when the popularity of Bertrice Small and her contemporaries began to rise. Die-hard romantics at Amazon.com revere his novels. If you read a review of his you’ll see that the reviewers think he’s a she too!
I began to wonder if women might view their favorite author differently if they knew she was really a man. Are the heroines more abrasive and less nurturing? Can you as the reader tell the difference? Can a man accurately depict a woman’s deepest desires or express her innermost thoughts? How the heck does he know what women are thinking anyway? When a woman writes the hero of her book, creating a strong, sexy, yet sensitive man, she’s molding a character that she, as the author, thinks we, as the reader, want to see in a hero. Are men secretly doing the same, creating women who are every man’s dream? Is this the ultimate payback for writing heroes who are by-and-large non-existent? Are they laughing behind our backs, because they’ve turned the tables on us? Cleverly disguising themselves as women, writing about women, and then claiming they “just don’t understand us”? Probably not. It seems most men just happened upon the genre of romance, following in the footsteps of some of the greats.
Take for example Michael Little - not only is he the President of the Aloha Chapter of Romance Writers of America, but he pens women’s 'cowboy' lit. His new book “Queen of the Rodeo” (available at Triple Tree Publishing) is about a big haired rodeo queen, and a hero who just wants his “little woman” to stay home and cook for him! Michael even includes recipes in his romances. He’s firmly out of the closet about his romance writing, and has a prequel to this book in the making. Little claims he didn’t set out to write a romance, he just wanted to tell a good story.
Men are entering the arena left and right, especially in the field of romantic erotica. James Miller and S.L. Carpenter, authors from Ellora’s Cave are men who have found a cozy niche in the field, along with J.W. McKenna and Chris Tanglen. Each has several e-books to their credit, and more on the way. Don’t men prefer alien entities, espionage and gun-toting cowboys?
Apparently not all men! Some have found writing romances to be their calling in life, and they're here to stay! So ladies, the next time you catch your hubby sneaking a peek at your latest subscription to Harlequin, ask yourself what all those long nights spent in the garage supposedly fixing the car, are really about!