Laura Haley-McNeil

1/6/19, Romance: Sweet or Spicy

Hello, Everyone!

This is my first blog for 2019, and I remembered to post the correct year in the title. This may be one of the few times I remember to do this for the next month or so. Writing the date is so automatic, I’m sure I’ll slip eventually.

And as I plan my blogs and newsletters for the year, which is more seat of the pants than plan, I’m also planning my novels. I’ve been writing romance novels for decades, even though the first ones I wrote will never see the light of day. One day, I became so frustrated with my pile of rejection letters, I deleted all my novels from my hard drive. Now, they float in the somewhere in information space. Fortunately, I met my husband, and he encouraged me to start writing again.

As I began my next phase of romance writing, I wanted a different theme to my novels. Though my previous books weren’t too racy, I decided to go the sweet/clean route. This genre is gaining momentum. When I first started, it was difficult to find a novel without sex and/or profanity. Many romance novels were filled with explicit bedroom scenes and I skimmed those scenes. I wanted more plot and less sex. Soon I was flipping through half the book before I reached the next plot scene. If I was skipping past the sex scenes, I was sure other readers were, too.

I belong to writers’ loops and many of these writers write erotica or more steamy novels. That seemed to be the type of novel romance readers wanted and the loops were filled with emails from authors who were very successful in writing these novels. Before too long, Fifty Shades of Grey was released and everyone was wild about writing the next erotica novel. I talked to my husband about this. I knew I couldn’t write an erotic novel. I’d never read one and couldn’t bring myself to read something I would find disturbing. Still, I wondered if I should write sexy novels.

I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to write. I wanted to write clean novels and I wanted to write clean romantic suspense. My most recent venture in that genre is Imagine the Kiss, Book Seven of the Crystal Creek Series. Even though not every one of my characters is pure, I wanted to keep the sex off the page and I wanted my hero and hero to be in positions where they struggled with desires that are natural but would be against their convictions. These aren’t Christian novels, but the characters are moral and have standards. In today’s society, that seems an anomaly but those are the novels I like to read and those are the ones I want to write.

Recently, I discovered that many romance authors feel as I do and have started groups that gave them the support they needed. Some are even hitting bestseller lists! At last, I’m working with like-minded writers. I’m glad I found this group, and I’m glad stayed with my conviction. If you’re wondering if your chosen genre is right for you, assume that it is and stay with your convictions.

I hope you have a wonderful and blessed week and it’s filled new and exciting ventures for you as we begin our travels through 2019. I send you my good wishes and best thoughts for a fabulous, fantastic, productive and healthy new year!