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Is there a difference between a romance and a love story?

No wonder readers--people in general...MEN--get confused.

Marvelous deeds?
Imaginary setting?
Fantastic or supernatural events?
Made-up story?
Full of exaggeration?

Come on!!!

That's not what romance is!

I'd like to think that I'm living a romance because my husband does romantic things. When he surprises me with a mini-vacation, sends me cute little text messages, gives me sweet gifts, cleans the house before I get home, kisses me sweetly when I don't expect it... That's romantic, so doesn't it make sense that we're living in a romance story.

Let's take a look at the words that define love:

Profoundly tender
Passionate affection
Personal attachment
Deep affection
Sexual passion

So why do we define books as contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, romantic comedy, romantic mystery, and romantic thriller. 

For the record, I wish there was another word other than "romantic" to describe what I write. Funny that they don't have a genre called "love-suspense novel," since according to the definition, it would work better. 

Even though when I think of a "love story," the first thing that comes to my mind is the movie Love Story or Romeo and Juliet, stories that are love stories because the characters fell in love under impossible odds. 

The fact of the matter is...I don't write romances. I don't write about fanciful events leading up to the characters falling in love. I write love stories that went wrong. Love stories that started on the rocks, went through tragedies, are surrounded by a life-threatening event, a murder mystery, secret pasts, on the run, mistakes...

But readers don't know that because they see the tag "romance" and they immediately think of a shirtless Fabio sweeping a half-dressed woman off her feet, so I'm not surprised when I read reviews like this one:

5.0 out of 5 stars Never thought I would be reading a romance novel.
By Joey Yagin
Format:Kindle Edition
Never thought I would enjoy reading a romance novel. I hate them. I gave this series a chance only because I was curious about who existed, what is a creatus? Once I read the first of the series, I was hooked. Could not stop reading. Normally, I would stop in between the series and read another book before starting the next book of a series. With this book, I could not stop. I had to find out what's coming next. It was well written, and I did enjoy the characters. I even enjoyed the antagonist of the book. For me, what made it a good read is the combination of the super heroism, supernatural, mystery and suspense ( oh yeah, the romance). All in one series. If you do decide to read it, just buy the set. You will not be disappointed.

5.0 out of 5 stars A Romance Novel for People Who Don't Like Romance Novels 
By C. M. Lance
Format:Kindle Edition
I read "She Belongs To Me" and found it to be quite a good mystery/thriller without the overt physical descriptions that overflow from other Romance novels I've ventured into. The Romance is more of a caring, loving sort.

"Split Decisions" is different. Not that the romance changes, but the story is stunningly better - and that is saying a lot. It opens with Jaynee sliding uncomfortably toward her 40th. Then the suspense and tension take off and keep rising.

"She Belongs To Me" dips a toe (the little one) into the paranormal. "Split Decisions" thrusts in a full foot. It surprised and delighted me, and it kept me avidly reading. DeSousa managed a twist I'd never encountered before and made it believable and suspenseful.

You don't have to read "She Belongs" to read "Split Decisions" it is a complete story in itself, but I do recommend both books.

I have many reviews like the two I posted above--many of them by men, some of them by women--who shy away from any genre with "romantic" in the title, for fear that it'll be the mushy tales of old, that were described as the romance definition at the top of the page.

When in fact, just about every book or movie ever written includes a background love story or romance. Even war movies usually show a man trying to get home to the woman they love, ready to buy the house with the white-picket fence. Heck, even thrillers and horror stories usually have a man dying to protect his woman. That's a pretty darn romantic gesture if you ask me. 

So...what do you think? Do you read novels with a romance tag? What do you immediately think of when you see romantic as part of the genre description. Please let me know your thoughts, and if you want a better description of my romantic novels, read on...

A romantic-suspense with a whodunit mystery...

A journey of two souls through tragedies with a romantic-suspense whodunit...

A romantic-suspense with heartbreaking pasts, life-changing events, and evil intentions...

A romantic-suspense with a supernatural edge...

A romantic-mystery with a ghostly edge

Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post once or twice a week at the most. :)

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  1. Yours is an interesting post, Carmen. I'm a man and once upon a time I considered romances to be too banal and mawkish for my liking. Then I picked up one and actually read it...

    The truth is that labels can only go so far. As a result, we readers should be as proactive as possible and open when it comes to experimenting with new genres or authors.

    1. Thank you for stopping by--and leaving a comment! I feel the same way about genres, obviously. I've written about the problem with categorizing a book by two words versus adding that info into the blurb several times.

      Yes, my books are very romantic, but honestly, I feel the falling in love and love scenes are natural, something most men obviously enjoy or they wouldn't court a partner, right? Lol!

      Of course, some folks disagree, but I just assume those people have never wooed or been wooed. :)

  2. As a fellow *shudder to use the word now* romance author, I agree. I've had reviews from men saying how much they enjoyed my book without ever thinking it would be something they'd read. And I do find some places that allow you to categorize it as a romantic suspense genre (wish more were like that) because YES that is how I feel my story is!

    We're two fish in the same pond on this subject. I didn't want ANY people on the front of my book cover because all the publisher suggested was two people clasped in an embrace. UGH! That's not what I wrote and it's not what I want to project! Jim can think he's got the looks of Fabio all he wants, but I'm not putting him in 'that pose' on the cover of his own story! LOL

    Thanks, btw, to @matt_harrill for tweeting a link to this post!

    1. I agree, Carrie! And no...I would never call myself a romance author. I'm an author who just so happens to add the natural act of falling in love into her stories. But you're right, some sites only allow a 'romance' or 'mystery' tag. In those cases, I do choose romance, as most readers are okay with their romance dipped in a mystery shell, but sadly, hardcore mystery readers can't always stand a sweet romance topping on their mystery.

      I was shocked when I produced my first audio book and they didn't have a romantic-suspense genre. Shame on them!

      Thanks for stopping by.


  3. GREAT post, and I'm retweeting and sharing on my fb account. I recently wrote about not apologizing for being a romance reader and romance writer. People need to stop being so critical and realize that love DOES make the world go 'round! :)

    1. Thank you for your response, Susabelle! I agree with you, obviously. :)

      Please feel free to share your post and FB page here. I'd love to stop by. You may have to use HTML code...


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