Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nickel Nasties Series #8: by AJ Joseph

Welcome to the Nickel Nasties series! In celebration of my first scathing Amazon review for A Ranger's Tale (1 in 58 ain't bad), I've decided to devote February to the stories that garner so much stereotype and ridicule, but still comprise one of the world's best-selling genres: ROMANCE! I hope you'll enjoy this series. Please leave comments for the wonderful contributors. And...don't forget to check out their books!

AJ Joseph

Hello, my name is Amelia and I read romance novels.

When I say I read romance novels, I actually mean I DEVOUR romance novels. By devour, I mean 90%...maybe 98% of the books I currently read are from the romance genre. And I don’t discriminate about the type of romance novels I read – paranormal, historical, Young Adult and even…GASP…erotica. All are fair reading game for me.   

Yes, I’m proud to declare that I read inhale romance novels.

Which is important for me to share here because I’ve been told (numerous times and often in a sarcastic manner) that smart women do not read romance novels. Yes, I can hear you shrieking WHAT??? I did too. In fact, I’ve also been told (more like instructed actually) to hide – burn would be ideal - all my romance novels if I ever wanted to be taken seriously as a writer.

This is a typical conversation about my reading preference of which I’ve had far too many of:

Literary `Friend’: So, what are you reading now?

Me: Ummm…Julie James, Sylvia Day?

Literary `Friend’: Oh? Haven’t heard of them. Are they new authors? What do they write?

Me: Nope, they’re not new. Err…they write romance.

Literary `Friend’: Oh, you still read romance? Don’t you think it’s time you started reading more serious genres?

Me: Romance is a serious genre!

Literary `Friend’: Romance is just fluff. If you want to be a writer, you should read more cerebral-type books.

And normally, that’s when I change the subject, walk away or when pushed to the extreme, take my glass of water and fling it towards the other person. Actually, I haven’t done the last but have often wished I did, just to see how far I could fling water.     

I read romance novels because for me, romance novels are stories of hope.

They tell tales of the possibility of meeting your soul mate while doing something as ordinary as jogging in the park or getting cheese at the grocery store.

#4 in Julie James's FBI/US Attorney series.
Coming in April!
In romance novels, you could be the tea lady serving drinks to the CEO of a multinational company and he’s your soul mate. Or you could be a kindergarten teacher and its love at first sight as you meet the widowed father of your favourite student at the annual picnic.

So much hope, in such ordinary situations all within 250 pages.  

It’s so easy to be cynical about romance these days especially when we read about increasing divorce rates or the musical chair love lives of celebrities. Sometimes, I wonder, is romance even practical, in this day and age. And strangely, that thought saddens me because I refuse to accept that romance is only for the naïve. 

Reading romance novels saved me from being jaded and cynical about love. In fact, it’s reading romance novels that made me brave enough to walk up to a guy at the coffee shop and introduce myself because in the back of my mind, I thought, this could be how my romance begins. So, reading romance novels encouraged me to be brave.   

So, to recap, my name is Amelia, I’m a smart woman and I love reading romance novels. And yes, even the ones with the half-naked dude on the cover. 


AJ is a bookaholic, semi-insomniac, unsuccessful recovering java-holic and most importantly, an aspiring writer. Her first writing piece was a poem about stars which she wrote when she was eight years old. She's been in and out of writing since then, trying to fit it in between work and travels. She's recently decided to give writing her all and in the new year will be re-structuring her life around her first love - words. 


  1. Nothing wrong with romance. even hardcore thriller stories have elements of romance in it. it's what makes the world go round! ;) Go for it! I write romance too, and I've since stopped scrunching up my nose when I say it. "I write romance." A girl at a NaNo meet said, hesitantly, "Oh I just write romance only," in that Malaysian way of being embarrased. I told her, don't apologise for it. Nothing wrong with writing romance. I write romance too. :)

    1. Isn't it kinda depressing that we scrunch up our nose when we say `Err...I write romance'? We shouldn't be ashamed of reading OR writing romance and no one has to write to make us feel that way :) So, here's to romance!

  2. Yay Amelia! I love that you 'devour' romance books of all genres and that you're going to give writing more of your time. Keep at it and never give up - my advice and the same from most authors.

    1. Hey Jody! Yes, I devour romance books and I love that the romances I read always have a HEA. 2013 feels like it's the right time to devote to writing and I'm looking forward to the stories that will erupt from me. Happy writing back to you! :)

  3. Hi Amelia, I read and write romance too. My kindle for PC app has 98% romance books too, but at my age, they're called History books. lol

    I loved your post.

    1. Hi Leona - Romance novels disguised as history books? :) Romance is definitely a genre that has infinite possibilities, there's so many love stories to tell!

  4. Hey Amelia,

    I love that you wrote this: "I read romance novels because for me, romance novels are stories of hope."

    This is so true.

    And how wonderful to know that your first love is words.

    How did it work out when you were brave enough to talk to the guy at the coffee shop?


    1. Hello Linda! Thank you for your comment :) It was an enlightening realisation for me to realise what romance novels represented - hope.

      The coffee shop guy? Well, I've written almost 8K inspired by that `meeting' LOL

  5. I read romance more than I read any other genre and have always been embarrassed by this! I keep telling myself I have to read less 'fluff' but it's so FUN to read! :p I call it my 'guilty pleasure' because I don't have to think too much or try to process a lot of information when I read it... and it's lovely entertainment.

    Friends sniff at it, saying it's all formulaic anyway and you always know how the story's going to turn out, but that's the whole point; I love knowing it's all going to end well, because if all of life around me is going to hell in a handbasket, I can pick up a romance novel and escape to a happier place -- not to mention be assured that somehow everything's going to work out eventually. There are no guarantees in life, but the nature of a romance novel means it does offer some measure of certainty, and there's comfort in that.

    Besides, it's not true that romance is always formulaic, outside of Mills & Boons. I always love to read the last 3 chapters first because that's where the resolution is, and it tells me what the couple's problems were and how they solved them... which in turn lets me know whether I'll enjoy the plot. I know, I'm a strange one. I only do this for romances. All other books I read from front to back like a normal person :p


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