“…then after my wife read Fifty Shades, she attacked me when I walked in the house. That book led to one of the best nights of my life. The next day, I went out and bought her the rest of the series.”

The man sitting across from me, telling me this story, is retired military, Texan, and a self-made entrepreneur. Crew-cut, plaid shirt, beer-in-hand, burley. Not exactly who I would have labeled as a “romance-book-lover.”

But he’s highly enthusiastic tale came bubbling out of him the minute I told him that I write naughty romance novels. It was like a barrier was gone, and he couldn’t wait to talk about this exciting new world he’d discovered.

The Texan went on about how great romance novel are… How they had brought a spark back into his wife and his love life… How I was doing something important and should keep on going on (It sounded very Texas to me at the time).

I grinned and nodded and thanked him, but all the while I was thinking: “Wow. This was soooo not the reaction I thought I’d get!”

… I almost didn’t say anything to him about my romance-writing-ways because the response I expect was the grumpy-old-church-lady look.

The one that says, “You do something I’m uncomfortable with/ think is stupid or tacky, and I’m trying to decide if I should look down on you or not.”

It seems like there are two types of people in the world: Those who love romance novels and everything in them, including the sex scenes, (Me! Me!) and those who DON’T.

But I have to admit:

The DON’T-ers get to me sometimes.

The worst sneer at all things romance. Call the genre flaky and dumb or [*gasp*] just badly-written porn for women. (Yes, someone told this to me at an airport bar. The man is clearly a fucking idiot, but I digress…)

My point is, in the past, I’ve let social stigma shame me into questioning my own chosen profession.

I’ve hesitated to say anything to anyone about the books I write because of the reactions of the people around me.

I used to hide the covers of the books I was reading. Make vague references about writing fiction and… you know… stuff.

Cringe when asked by interested strangers where they could pick up a copy of my work…

But when I heard the story of this awesome Texas man, I had a turning point.

No more hiding. No more mumbles. No more shame.

I love reading. I love writing. And, damn it, I love romance.

So to all the haters out there trying to make us hang our heads low, I must declare: Fuck That!

A vivid imagination paired with a dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste.

To all my romance readers out there – I love you. You rock and you clearly have great taste… just saying.

Happy reading, my friends,
— Olivia —

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