Well, when you read this, I’ll be in Alabama visiting my dad. Faye Hughes and I are still celebrating the release of Wild, Wicked and Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You’re in a Romance Novel, so today I’m posting an article we did about ten lessons a woman can learn from reading romance novels. Hope you enjoy. Oh, and check out the contests we’re running!
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Ten Lessons a Woman Can Learn From a Romance Novel
By Christie Craig and Faye Hughes
When it comes to fictional tales about love and romance, let’s face it. The romance divas, aka romance novelists, know how to create heroes to sigh over and heroines capable of handling any obstacle in the path of their happily ever after. Romance novelists make it all seem so easy, too—give or take a few vampire attacks, threats of world annihilation by evil aliens and the occasional serial killer bent on revenge, all of whom are vanquished by the last chapter. Too bad real life doesn’t work the way it does in romance novels.
Ah, but what if it could?
Or more specifically, what can a woman learn about love from reading romance novels? Well . . . quite a lot actually. But we’ll start with the top ten lessons.
1. Stop faking it. Hey, we’re serious. Do you think Scarlett ever faked it? Don't you think that if Rhett kept missing the right spot, she would have drawn him a picture? And we’re not talking just about the big O, either. We’re talking about speaking up about what we want and need for our own happiness. After all, romance heroines are not doormats. They don't fake being happy, they find happiness . . . and so should you.
2. Life isn't fair. Okay, now think about it. Romance heroines have parents who die, dogs who come up missing and cats who leave hairballs on the carpeting in the middle of the night. For that matter, some romance heroines get shot, discover crotchless panties stuffed under the seats of their husband's cars, and even get turned into vampires. But what do they do? Well, okay, so they may have a mini-meltdown, but then they pull up their big girl panties and deal with it.
3. Size doesn't matter. Why are you snickering? We’re not talking about the size of a romance hero’s’ body parts here. Nope, we’re talking about the size of our bodies. Happiness isn't measured in cups or pants sizes. Today's romance heroines come in all shapes and sizes, just like real women. What they've learned-and what we can learn from them-is that feeling good about yourself starts from within. And when you feel good on the inside, you look better on the outside.
4. Life is full of surprises. Accept them. One thing about romance heroines, they are always being hit with the unexpected. From a dead body in a Port-a-Potty to discovering you’re the last of a long line of demon slayers, you can bet romance heroines have their fair share of “oh-shit” moments. And then there's the good surprises, like winning a lottery, adopting a baby, or learning that the man who floats your boat is as good in the bedroom as he is in the kitchen. Whether it’s a good surprise or a bad one, life is always changing. Romance heroines learn not to fight change, but to deal with it. It’s a lesson we should all learn.
5. Believe in Yourself. Sooner or later, we all fall victim to bouts of self-doubt. Do we have what it takes to win that big promotion? Do we accept our boyfriend’s marriage proposal? Was going platinum blonde really the right hair color? Oh, yes. Self-doubt is part of the human condition. The problems arise, however, when we lose all confidence in our abilities. Romance heroines know that whether it’s to win their Happily Ever After, or to stop a serial killer, you have to acknowledge your flaws but still find the faith to believe in yourself.
6. Make It Happen. One of the great things about romance heroines is that they never sit around and wait for the good stuff to come to them. No way. They set out to get that good stuff on their own. They set a goal and then they do what they must to make it happen, no matter how many other people tell them they probably won’t succeed. And yeah, sometimes they don’t, but a lot of the time, they do. And even when they fail, the lessons they learned along the way made the journey worthwhile.
7. Distinguish the Keepers from the Creepers. Yes, romance heroines have scoundrel ex boyfriends and lowlife ex-husbands. They’ve been burned, mistreated, stepped on, and used as someone’s chew toy. But unlike so many real life women, romance heroines have come to realize these men have been able to hurt them mostly because they themselves have allowed the men to do it. In other words, romance heroines realize that who they date and who they decide to swap bodily fluids with is there own choice. They realize that if they keep finding themselves with the same disastrous relationship issues, it could be because they are secretly attracted to the wrong type of man and then set out to correct it.
8. Get Rid of the Junk in your Trunk. Be it daddy issues, or a hang up because your mama made you eat all your peas and carrots, we all carry around some potentially dangerous baggage—as in toxic to the building of healthy relationships. You can bet your best bra that romance heroines come with their share of junk, too. However, a romance heroine starts to recognize her own issues and then deals with them before managing to kill off another relationship.
9. Give and Take. Women, by nature, are givers and romance heroines are no exception. However, romance heroines have learned not to be so shy in the taking part of the equation, too. Making sure that you are giving back to yourself, and that you aren’t the only one doing the giving in the relationship is not only the key to a happy relationship it’s the key to making your own happiness.
10. Happily Ever Afters are Damn Hard Work. As authors, we don't make it easy for our characters to achieve their Happily Ever Afters. In the end, though, our characters generally have earned their march off into the sunset, hand in hand. Sure, real life doesn't come with guarantees like a romance novel does, but consider this: If real people put as much time into plotting their relationships and choosing a partner as a romance author spends plotting and choosing her characters, maybe we'd have more real-life happy endings. And whether it’s writing that book, or searching for true love, the thing is, we have to be willing to work for it.
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Okay, guys. Faye and I are running a contest at www.WritewithUs.net to celebrate the launch of Wild, Wicked & Wanton. We’re looking for your romantic disaster stories, and we’re giving away a lot of goodies. Go check it out and enter.
This week at Killer Fiction, we’re giving away a copy of Wild, Wicked & Wanton to one lucky commenter. Tell us about your favorite romance novel—when did you read it and why do you love it so much.