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Saturday, July 22, 2006

what I'm talking about above--the letter in RWR

I've cut out bits here and there but the gist is there. I don't want to cut too much because she's a good writer (other than the actual thinking/tolerance part) and it's bad idea to ignore that fact.
. . . romance isn't about just any "two people" celebrating "love in its many forms." Organizations such as the Man-Boy Love Association would certainly refer to themselves as celebrating love "two people" (or more) finding love in one of its many forms" . . . while they actively promote pedophilia.

Think RWA can't go down that slipper slope? Think again. Under our present definition, we cannot exclude such "love stories" under the category of "romance". We, as a culture, seem to have forgotten how to say "enough is enough," but RWA can--indeed, must--do better than that. . . .

And, please, spare us the arguments about "censorship" and "inclusiveness." Preference for "one man, one woman" stories represents what RWA has always claimed is romance's target demographic: college-educated, married, middle-class, monogamous, and moral. . . .Only in recent years has a vocal (translate: shrill) minority tried to drive RWA's focus off that path, under the guise of "broadening its horizons." But refusing to define romance according to the parameters it has held for centuries doesn't "broaden" anything . . . it only starts us down the aforementioned slope, and once we're in that slide, heaven help us.

There's an old saying, "Go home with the one who brought you here." What brought romance fiction to its present level of success is a collection of decades' worth of one-man, one-woman relationships stories, in all their richness, variety, and power. RWA should be the first to endorse that, rather than attempting to placate fringe groups trying to impose their standards upon the rest of us. If anyone's in danger of being "censored" here, it's believers in "what comes naturally": one-man, one-woman romance. We in RWA owe it to ourselves not to let that happen. Jan W. Butler

98 comments:

  1. Ooh, let's see whether this looks like sound logical argument or just rhetorical bluster.

    We start with a random invocation of something unarguably unpleasant to show that we are on the side of the angels. It's irrelevant to the rest of the argument, but let's hope nobody notices that; it sets the mood so nicely.

    Then we produce that mainstay of demagoguery, the slippery slope. Of course we are not already on that slope at all at present, oh no, but if we take the shortest step in the wrong direction we will instantly be sliding inexorably to perdition. So obvious that it needs to explanation.

    Then we produce a couple of vague straw man counterarguments, which we don't bother to elaborate upon, but simply sweep away with ad personam (translate: shrill) attacks on the perceived "enemy".

    Top that off with a claim that we, and we alone, know how to define something that has remained not only undefined but actually unchanged for (hyperbole alert) "centuries".

    Then we get the appeal to corny folk wisdom (or possibly country music lyrics) as if they were eternal verity, folowed by a claim that the majority culture has a monopoly on deciding "what comes naturally".

    And then the Grand Finale - a bizarre claim that being denied the right to impose the majority view on the minority amounts to censorship of the majority.

    That's what I call a polemical full house built on sand.

    The single best point to demolish it? The claim that romance has held the same parameters for centuries. That is simply not true. It's meaning has changed constantly over the years, and any organisation that claims to represent its practitioners would be wise to be aware of that.

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  2. I KNEW there'd be some good thoughtful replies.

    Thank goodness for Teresa B and Stephen!!!!!!!

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  3. Who the f'ck is she?

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  4. I believe the Man/Boy stories would go down as well as Man/Little girl stories would...excuse me Ms. Butler but equating child porn with romance is REALLY sick.
    Hello? How is it that she didn't say anything about the 'forced rape' stories (oh, because those were between a man and a woman no doubt) or the secret baby, (out of wedlock no less, how shocking!) or amnesia stories...(seduce someone who has lost their mind - how romantic.)
    I have to agree that romance is not limited but applies to the human race. I think it's up to consenting adults to decide what romance implies...Not the RWA.

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  5. Oh hell, I remember well when they didn't allow black people in romance or black authors (unless you passed and wrote white characters), so there's nothing new about RWA sponsoring exclusion.

    They didn't have a problem with "No Blacks Allowed." They could care less that an entire romance sub-genre is segregated from whites as if it were 1906 instead of 2006 just because the characters are a different race (no other difference in content).

    So I doubt if they'll mind excluding the idea of homosexuals indulging in romance. Romance is only for nonblack heterosexual people. Black people can recently indulge, as long as we stay on a separate shelf and they don't have to look at us doing it.

    The RWA absolutely reeks of racism however polite. It's tolerated and swept under the carpet, but still racism and could never represent me as an author OR a reader.

    I'd just as soon network at the rabidly conservative, political all white, no blacks Southern Christian BBQ today (we're allowed to attend, as long as we stay in our proper place and let the white folks eat first).

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  6. damn, Monica, I should have known better. Why did I think RWA actually had taken a stand on racial equality? I'll have to go see if I can dig up my source. Shirley Hailstock comes to mind, but I don't know why. . .

    Ohhhh wwaaaaaaaaahhhh, I don't want it to be politicaaaaaaaaaalllllll. I want it to be about rioting.

    But if it has to be political and I'm a member? I'm not going down without a fight. It's the RWA I'll be damned if I'm a member of an organization that's the RWABOHANTMSP (romance writers of america but only heterosexual and not too much sex please)

    Love is inclusive and I'll beat the stuffing outta anyone who disagrees with that POV. Heh. Joke.

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  7. Ooh, Kate, I'm SO glad you posted this! Why? Because that letter she's replying to was one sent in by yours truly, and I'm no longer a member of RWA so I couldn't see this otherwise.

    And her reply absolutely proves that I'm right in not belonging to RWA anymore. I mean, GASP, I actually have an INTERRACIAL romance coming out next month! And I'm writing a lesbian romance! And they're BOTH erotic! I hope that there's still a seat open when I get to Hell, cuz I'm clearly damned, damned, damned.

    This bigotry is disgusting and nauseating. Stephen, I love you and want to have your babies. Your reply was brilliant. Can Kate send it to the Letters To The Editor, please? I would do it, but as I said, I decided my $100/year could be better spent on bubble gum...

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  8. >>or possibly country music lyrics

    Hey watch the country music bashing! ~Kidding!!!!!

    >>The claim that romance has held the same parameters for centuries.

    Someone better not tell the anciet Greeks!

    I haven't gotten my RWR yet, but to be honest, it's one more reason I don't want to renew. If it wasn't for my local chapter I'd quit.

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  9. Thanks for the kind words. Anything that I post in the comments section of Kate's blog is hers to do with as she wishes.

    The trouble with quitting the RWA over this sort of thing is that you are giving the field to the other side, and while the RWA continues to be an influential voice within the industry, you don't want that voice to be dominated by an narrow-minded faction.

    I am so glad this sort of thing doesn't go on in the UK.

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  10. You're right, Stephen, and I certainly hope everyone who feels that inclusion is better than exclusion doesn't leave. I had to make the decision because money's so tight here. I just couldn't see spending that much on an organization that doesn't support my genre, my publishers, or recognize me as a "published" author despite my 9 published books.

    But if I had the money, I'd stay and fight--and that's also why I sent that letter in just before my membership lapsed. Had to get one last shot in before they started ignoring me completely! ;)

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  12. Amelia Elias said: I hope that there's still a seat open when I get to Hell, cuz I'm clearly damned, damned, damned.

    If this is what it takes to be damned, then I'll save you a seat by the pool. ;-)

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  13. I am incredibly biased on this issue and I'lls tate that up front. I'll say up front that I happen to know many gay and lesbian people who model romance better than many heterosexual people.

    Romance is not about the combination of parts. Romance is about connection. It doesn't matter if the owner of the heart is male or female.

    I am tired of the constant casitgation of gays as pedophiles when ALL of the statistics show that well over 90% of pedophiles are heterosexual. NAMBLA is no more representative of gays as a whole than that creepy guy who dressed like santa so he could molest the children in the neighborbood is representative of heterosexuals.

    Jan most certainly has a right to not like gay romance. To say she doesn't. To even use the kind of hateful and innacurate rhetoric that ends in violence every day for gays and lesbians across this nation. But I have a right to stand up as a romance author and call it what it is - hateful bullshit.

    The calls for "the way things always have been" are never powerful arguments for me. Slavery was "the way things have always been" women not being allowed to vote or own property separate from male relatives was "the way things have always been" - the way things have always been is a learning curve. We learn from our mistakes and we move on.

    The way I see it, I write my books and they get published and people buy them. How that is "pushing my standards" on anyone is not clear to me. However, "We in RWA owe it to ourselves not to let it happen" is most assuredly Jan and her ilk trying to push her standards on me and my readers.

    After years of discomfort and unease with the RWA, I finally joined. Now that I'm here, I'm not shutting up. Because if you don't like my kind of romance, there are hundreds of others on the shelf for you to buy and read.

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  14. But, where does she stand on alien shape-shifter romance?

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  15. AB: with or without tentacles? how many orifaces?

    Off topic: I think I'm going to go back to allowing anonymouses here. The polish spammers have to be gone by now. . . Don't miss remarks on the OTHER comment thread on the same post, k?

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  16. Anonymous2:38 PM

    Coming late to the conversation, may I point out that "doing what comes naturally" comes from a show tune ... and we all know who loves show tunes!

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  17. Stephen said "I am so glad this sort of thing doesn't go on in the UK."

    Actually this sort of thing does go on in the UK, and almost every where else.
    Racial prejudice 'rising in UK'
    The Ugly Truth About the Beautiful Game
    Pride and Prejudice
    Gay man's killing 'tip of the iceberg'

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  18. I THINK Stephen meant in the English romance writers' community. (He just got back from the RNA [romance novelists' association] conference so he'd know.)

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  19. I think some of these RWA ladies watch too much Pat Robertson and have Rush Limbaugh beamed right to their ipods.

    I'm getting to where it would probably be a Good Idea to join RWA, but crap like this keeps me from sending in the application.

    The obvious moral majority slant within the RWA membership is not something I find attractive.

    The lack of logical analysis is worse yet. Of course romance between consenting adults of whatever orientation is EXACTLY the same as pedophilia. Duh. How could I have missed that? Sheesh. Some of these people haven't passed Logic 101. Amazing though, how rarely logic is ever demanded of leadership or the decisionmaking process.

    M

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  20. If people are so damn desperate for a definition of romance, may I suggest going to Webster's Dictionary? Look it up, not a single thing about gender, number of participants, race or any other aformentioned rules.

    Plain and simple:
    1. A long medieval narrative in prose or verse telling of the adventures of chivalric heroes (hey, anyone notice there was no mention of a heroine???)
    2. A long fictitious taleof heroes and mysterious or extraordinary events (which I'm guessing, extraordinary, would be out of the ordinary, not steeped in it.)
    3. The clas of literature that consists of such tales (see we are literature!)
    4.A quality suggestive of adventure and idealized expolits found in such tales.
    5. The style or class of fictional worlds about idealized love (idealized, I tell you. So whatever your ideal...it works.)
    6. A love affair. (that's it! No other boundaries...interesting.)

    I could go on and make you yawn, but really. Does RWA have to do any more than look at Webster's?

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  21. I THINK Stephen meant in the English romance writers' community.

    Thanks, Kate, I did indeed mean that the RNA, and the British romance writing community in general, does not seem to feel the need to tear themselves up over definitions, and what is inside the fence or beyond the pale. And, yanno, I kind of like it that way. We didn't so much lose an Empire as gain a wider view of the world.

    To adapt from someone funnier than me, if somebody takes so strongly against a book, I don't think that they should rant about the author or the publisher, but they should certainly do something about whoever it is who is forcing them to buy it and read it.

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  22. So you think I should go ahead and post the ad I'd planned in the RWR?
    Not that I write m/m or anything, the nearest I've got is a couple of f/f's and an f/m/f, but my publisher does, and I'd deffo do a Voltaire for them!
    Romance, as we think of it, is a relatively modern construct. So to say it's existed in the same form for centuries is pretty much meaningless.
    Still, the rear guard is fighting gamely, although it's on the losing side, now. Not because of morals, or rightness of their argument, but because of the little bits of green paper and even smaller bits of plastic that are being used to buy erotic romance in all its glorious variety. Sex is selling at the moment, and that's that. So the RWA won't take much notice, although it's interesting to see the way the blogs have bloomed in the past day or two, since this letter came out.
    Call me an old cynic, but whereas a year or two ago the committee, in their wisdom, would have supported this writer, they can't afford to now.
    I left the RWA a few months back, from financial considerations, but, like Stephen, I'm in the RNA. I live here, I get more contact with my fellow author that way, and everybody is incredibly welcoming. If you write romance, and you're published, and you want to stump up for membership, you can join. I once asked Jenny Haddon, the Pres of the RNA, if they were thinking of defining romance, and got a bewildered, "Why?" in response.
    Anyway, back to the vampires. Or aren't they allowed to have a romance, either?

    Lynne Connolly
    www.lynneconnolly.com

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  23. Anonymous7:59 AM

    Hi - a friend from The Lipstick Chronicles blog sent me this link.

    I'm just a reader, not an author, but if anyone in the romance industry thinks they're going to limit what reader's want by making it definitional, they need medical help.

    I attended my first Con this year - the RT Convention. I know it's nothing like the RWA, but I can tell you from helping sell books at the Book Fair on the last day, that the number of books with straight up man-on-top-of-woman plots were in the minority.

    Just out of curiosity, where do fantasy/sci fi books fit into the RWA guidelines?

    BTW - I'm commenting as anonymous since I'm not a Blogger, and I'm not sure what Other means.

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  24. Lynn:

    OMG! That's NECROPHILIA! *dies of the horror*

    Ehem. Hey, it's about as logical as this hateful, bigoted pile of crap paid for with MY dues money.

    I've been thinking and rethinking my membership in this organization from the moment I joined -- they exclude or marginalized pretty much every romance writing category I belong to. So what am I giving them a hundred bucks a year for?

    I'm just enraged that they printed this. This isn't a reasonable member expressing a point of view, this is a bigot spewing hatred about anyone different than herself: anyone male, unmarried, poor or working class, without a college education, and/or (presumably) Non-Christian.

    And this is okay with the editorial staff of the RWR? ARGH!

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  25. People like Ms. Butler scare me. She hides her own narrow right-wing religious agenda behind scare tactics (watch out! here come the pedophiles!) in an attempt to appear mainstream. Damn. Look up her blog and website. Among her interests: Jesus, Ann Coulter, conservative politics, and "supporting our President," and she explicitly equates "other sexual preferences" with "perversions."

    And yet we're the ones who belong to "fringe groups trying to impose their standards upon the rest of us." Uh huh. Look in the mirror, woman!

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  26. Just one more tidbit from Butler's website--among the reasons she says she writes:

    "Maybe it's a hidden (okay, not so hidden) urge to *control* people, things, events..."

    Anybody surprised?

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  27. MJ, you must be a good googler ("good googler, batman!") I couldn't find anything about the woman online. But, eh, what would I do when I found her? Try to change her mind? Not too likely.

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  28. *grins* It takes some doing, but you CAN find her website. Just in case you can't--- here it is. http://www.janet-w-butler.com/ She writes inspirational romance. Anyone recognize her publisher? I don't.

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  29. Interesting... this "shrill minority" seems to be a rather large majority of the romance writers I know. I don't think I've seen anyone actually agree with this moron.

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  30. Ahhh....hit a nerve, did I? LOL!

    Never mind. If you can't effectively attack the truth of an assertion--which is, in fact, that legally we cannot bar anyone from writing virtually anything, calling it "romance," and wanting to be represented by RWA, as long as we preserve the current "two people" definition--then attack the writer's intelligence, her publisher, her website, her links, her blog, and anything else you can find.

    Fact is, ladies and gentlemen, RWA used to stand for something. Now, it falls for anything, out of fear of being labeled "bigoted." Most of you won't remember a time when you could buy a romance and it'd be about emotion, not about body parts. Unfortunately, in most cases in the ABA market, that simply isn't the case. We are surrounded by plotless wonders in which people know where to find the "provocative" scenes...because the publishers put the ad cards in those pages. And then we wonder why so much of the fiction world makes fun of us?

    As for the "majority" of RWA not feeling the way I expressed? We'll never know this, one way or the other, for a fact, because RWA has never posted the results of their poll about defining romance as one man, one woman. Even when directly asked, they won't answer. (I know. I asked, and the e-mail was ignored.) This tells me the organization got an answer it didn't want, one it was afraid would be politically incorrect, and so it's not about to post that up on its website and "upset the children."

    If not, I'd love to see the results of that poll. Most of the people I know in RWA voted squarely on the side of the viewpoint I expressed. They aren't stupid enough to put it out in public and get vilified for it, but hey...sometimes a little more's at stake here than a writer's ego.

    It really doesn't matter what you say about me, in the long run. It really doesn't matter what you think about what I said. It really doesn't matter how mad you get. Just don't blame those of us out here attempting to "cry out in the wilderness" when you can't find a book that expresses your idea of romance anymore...because the inmates have taken over the asylum.

    Thanks for your good words!

    JWB

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  31. yeah, you hit a nerve. Intolerance is always a big nerve cruncher in my book.

    and if the keepers of the asylum you mention can't tell the difference between love that should be protected (even if you don't want to read those books yourself) and something to be banned then yeah, it's about damn time they handed over the keys to the inmates.

    There are a couple of things on which we agree:
    I wish the results of that poll were released too.
    (and I bet you think you're a good writer too.)

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  32. I'm done with conversation and plan to use my energy for more interesting things. (Okay, so we're focussed on surviving the heat. But eventually I'll be productive. I hope.)

    I hope you use your considerable bravery and talents for projects that actually help people, Janny.

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  33. What an interesting discussion. I haven't - and won't - join RWA, partly because they cost too damn much, but mostly because I can't knowing support an organization that promotes bigotry (sorry, Jan, that's what it is). Not that they'd have me, since I write exclusively gay erotic romance.

    Of course, RWA being a private organization, they have the right, legally speaking, to be as narrow minded and bigoted as they want. But society is (hopefully) moving past that. One day, if they don't open their eyes and recognize that, RWA will make themselves obsolete. Won't hurt my feelings any, but it's something for them to think about.

    One thing I'm wondering, from Ms. Butler and those who share her views: what, precisely, is your argument with gay people? I won't argue your right to believe whatever you please, I just don't understand it. How can it possibly impact you or your own values if two (or more) consenting adults of the same sex fall in love, or just into bed? Homosexual individuals are doing what comes naturally to THEM, just as much as you are. I don't get the argument. And if all you have to say is "God said so!" that doesn't cut it. YOU can believe that if you like, but not everyone is Christian.

    An interesting side note: my daughter's tenth grade class held debates in the spring. They wanted to debate gay marriage, but they aren't allowed to use religious arguments in the debates, and they couldn't come up with any argument against it that wasn't based in religion. So they couldn't debate it.

    I will refrain from running off at the mouth at this point about religion in general and Christianity in particular....

    Oh, and, um, I wanna have Stephen's babies too O_O

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  34. First we're shrill, now we're children. I think someone is suffering from the fear that her genre will disappear and be flooded out by us brazen hussies who write plotless wonders.

    I like to think of all of us in the romance industry as co-workers, since we don't all share an office in this lonely business we have to be respectful of each other where we find one another. My ongoing advice to Ms. Butler is: Don't crap where you live. Writers are readers. When you insult your fellow writers time and again, you insult your potential market as well.

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  35. Jan, I support your right to say what you said, just as much as I support RWR's right to print it. I also support your right to wish that there were more "sweet" "traditional" romances out there, just as I support your right not to buy the stuff that's not. However, to say that RWA must define "romance" according to the parameters that have existed for centuries? That doesn't even make sense. Romance, as a genre, is a relatively new fiction genre. It hasn't been around for centuries, nor has the RWA for that matter (the RWA is exactly 26 years old).

    Also, to say that we must stick with what is already the status quo is exactly what made such decisions as Plessy v. Ferguson and Koramatsu acceptable. It's what made slavery acceptable, women not able to vote. Hell, for that matter, it was illegal for people to engage in an interracial marriage for quite some time. It wasn't until 1967 (ten years before I was born) before the Supreme Court struck down an anti-interracial marriage statute in Loving v. Virginia. I'm a Caucasian woman married to an Asian man. Thank goodness I have the right to marry him now, but I wouldn't have then.

    So, what are your thoughts on interracial romances? Do you have a problem with the heroine in my ms dating a man who isn't her race? If so, you just don't but it. Just like you just don't buy a book with a homosexual romance if that offends you. Guess what--it's called capitalism and the law of supply and demand. The market will straighten this out. And you know what I kept hearing at the RWA conference this past week? The market wants HOT HOT HOT. The market wants male-on-male (women readers want this!). Publishers don't publish what they can't sell. They're publishing what the market wants.

    So Jan, you know, on paper I meet your target demographic, you know, the one you think RWA should only play to.

    College-educated? Check, check, and check (that would be three degrees beyond high school: a bachelor's degree, a law degree, and an advanced law degree called an LLM in a specialty).

    Married? Check, for a little over two years now. But does that mean you didn't approve of my reading romance before I got married? Cuz guess what? I read it. As do millions of women.

    Middle-class? Check. (Is economic wealth one of your criteria for a romance reader? Is this to mean that the working class don't read? Or that the upper class don't? And what's your feeling on two-income households, including those where the wife doesn't have to work, but she chooses to? Should all romance readers served by the RWA be stay-at-home-soccer-moms? I'm definitely not denigrating SAHMs, but a large percentage of romance readers aren't that.)

    Monogamous? Check.

    Moral? Check.

    But let's examine that last one. "Moral." Who defines what is "moral"? I'd certainly consider myself to be moral. Sadly, however, "moral" is too often used as a code word for "evangelical conservative Christian." Well, I'm not evangelical, nor am I conservative, but I am Christian (raised Roman Catholic). However, is this to say that RWA should not serve the interests of Jewish readers? Muslim readers? Hindus? Buddhists? What about people who don't self-identify with any organized religion? I didn't think that religion had anything to do with being a romance reader, other than in the inspirational genre.

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  36. Nora Roberts5:31 PM

    Oddly, everyone I know voted square against the concept of defining romance at ALL, much less as one-man, one-woman, etc. I'll wager I actually know more people in RWA than Ms. Butler.

    Just saying.

    RWA does not promote bigotry. But some who hold particular opinions and viewpoints are very vocal.

    My letter in response to Ms. Butler's was sent into the RWR earlier this week. I hope to see it in the Oct. issue.

    Oh, by the way. I'm still not fringe, not shrill, and I'm certainly not a child.

    Nora

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  37. Nora Roberts5:51 PM

    I'd like to add something.

    I don't generally read erotica. I don't generally read inspirationals. I don't generally read YA romance. I don't generally read gay romance.

    But, not for a minute have I ever considered, because they don't suit my particular reading tastes, that any of these categories aren't a legitimate spoke of the big wheel of the Romance genre.

    Nor would I ever consider I have the right to speak for RWA or the Romance genre, or attempt to push my own tastes or 'morals' on either.

    Nora

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  38. *standing up and wholeheartedly applauding Nora Roberts*

    BRAVA!

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  39. Do you think Nora Roberts will have my babies? Because she's purely the bomb-diggity.

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  40. Termagant 27:44 PM

    What I (an RWA member who's rethinking things, but not for this reason) would like to know is, why did the RWA open up this question in the first place? Why "define" what a romance is at a corporate level? Why not simply let the free market have its way?

    But they chose to do a survey. Then, arguably because the survey results did not reflect the politically correct viewpoint, they withheld its publication. Some of us asked questions, and got no answers.

    Put up or shut up, RWA. You've sidelined so many types of fiction, writers, publishers in the past. Why stop here? Why not just come straight out and SAY that only certain writers and genres and publishers are worth our hard earned reading dollar?

    We wouldn't like it, but at least it'd be honest. Like Ms. Butler.

    T2

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  41. This is another letter I got as an email and I think it's got some valuable points:

    She is a member of an organization and has a right to say what direction that organization should go. Doesn’t mean the group has to go along with her.

    While I am sure she would prefer there are no gay romances (and her original letter was unnecessarily inflammatory), I think the pertinent beef is that she doesn’t want RWA’s attention going that direction.

    To be honest, I don’t care. Whether RWA supports any particular subgenre is not going to have a major effect on that subgenre, and I do believe the members of the organization have the right to discuss and decide what they as an organization want to support. We aren’t talking about banning books to the public here—we don’t have that kind of power.

    What if the topic wasn’t so political? What if there was a movement in the RWA to include say non-fiction romantic stories or mysteries with no romance in them at all? Wouldn’t people feel that they might take emphasis in the organization away from the core goal of promoting romantic fiction? Would that be so objectionable a stance? I don’t have a real opinion on gay romances in the RWA. I do know though that if it became the major direction of the RWA, I would quit. Not because I object to them, but because I don’t write them and such an organization wouldn’t benefit me enough to pay my dues, etc. However, I SERIOUSLY don’t see that happening.

    I don’t see anything wrong with trying to keep an organization focused on one mission—the argument (for me) here is just whether gay romance fall enough under the romance umbrella for the membership to want to include them.

    Does anyone think stopping a certain type of book from being represented by RWA is on the scale of an antitrust issue? I just don’t believe that. And I don’t believe just because someone says not to include a certain subgenre they are automatically bigoted cretins who should be hung up by their toes. . . .

    I am afraid all this flaming will make people afraid to speak up for what they want out of their own organization and that is wrong. Especially since a number of the people carrying the flame throwers aren’t even members.

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  42. T2?
    Is that what happened? The survey came back unPC?

    I didn't know. I do recall it wasn't at all clear that one kind of answer would exclude a whole huge chunk of this world and the rest of the universe as well. I only knew because so many people pointed it out.

    Maybe the best answer is to drop the issue.

    The kerfuffles can crop up and people will let off steam until something new comes thundering down the track...like ummm. . .well I suppose it depends on what new genre kicks ass in the market place and thus feelas threatening. A couple of years ago it was chick lit. Don't see a lot of RWR letters about that one any more.

    (hey, and how come we don't get the "I'm threatened by Inspies! They hurt my definition of romance by squelching my writing! somehow! git back to you later!" Hey, inspies're hot right now oh and another tangent. THERE ARE NOW INSPIROTICAS. I'll post a link later)

    Anyway, I suppose if a majority of RWA people demand there be a recount or redo or whatever, then heck, it'll have to come up OFFICIALLY. Otherwise, why bother? Something new will be along any minute.

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  43. Another interesting letter! I agree with a LOT of what this writer has to say, actually. Heterosexual romance has nothing to fear from me, certainly, nor from gay romance in general. I also agree that having done the poll, RWA should at least let their members in on the results. And as I said before, RWA has a right to go in the direction they feel is right, whatever that might be. But I still feel that relegating gay romance to the "fringe" just because the people who fall in love are the same sex smacks of "separate but equal".

    Again, RWA is legally protected IF that is indeed what they decide to do, and no one can (or should, IMO) argue that. I just can't wrap my head around the viewpoint that a couple's romance wouldn't be considered valid in some way simply because of them being M/M or F/F.

    Well, that's my take on the matter anyway. I certainly hope that no one in RWA or anywhere else would feel that my opinions, or anyone else's, would be enough to keep them from voicing their own opinion. I hope no one here would try to say that anyone should not speak up with their thoughts. The suppression of the free exchange of ideas is much worse than RWA possibly having a policy of exclusion. They have the freedom to do that, and I have the freedom to tell them exactly what I think of it. That's how it should be.

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  44. Hmmm. This argument seems to have more to do with the current political climate and the bogus victimization rightwings use to manipulate their cause--which is mainly about control.


    Romance is romance. Humans have it. In the imagination, anybody can have it. Narrowing a literary genre because of political reasons is downright ridiculous.

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  45. you know it's all about the money.

    Anyone remember all the bushwa a couple of years ago when the chicklit crowd wanted to have a bigger voice at RWA?

    As soon as a particular type of the genre gets popular and people feel like they'r losing contracts because of the sub-genre they want to make sure it's included out.

    At least with chicklit, I sort of understood the point of the uproar.(the story doesn't need to focus on the relationship) ..

    ANYWAY, the point is that now that the publishers have stopped pouring money into chicklit then it's no longer a threat and no longer showing up in outraged letters to the editor in RWR.

    Can't yell at the publishers for publishing what you don't like so it's easier to yell at the group you belong to for writing it.

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  46. SandyO1:42 AM

    I think Jan is on the right track, in fact, let's look at another subgenre: The Inspirational.

    There is a growing market for the Inspirational. But it is still a minority. For the most part, Inspirationals cater to a special group, the evangelical Christians. I doubt that a non Christian, an agnositic or even a more liberal Christian would be comfortable reading this genre.

    And what about the role God plays in this love story? From what I understand an Inspirational is about a man and a woman their love for each other and their love of God. So does that make it a menage a trois? Does this violate the one man, one woman concept?

    And I've read several authors of Inspirationals who commented that they feel their writing is a ministry. That's more than just wanting to write a good book. That is, dare I say it? An agenda!

    So should a book that is written for a particular group and with the intent on persuading others to follow the author's beliefs be allow to be in RWA?

    Of course it should. Just because I don't read Inspirationals isn't a justification for their exclusion from RWA. I don't read Erotica either and probably wouldn't read a gay romance. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be part of the greater definition of romance.

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  47. I find it amusing that Jan Butler wrote this big long blog post about freedom of speech, and has yet to allow any comments through the moderation. I know a lot of them weren't the mean, ugly, hate-mongering type, because I've read them elsewhere. Amazing how many people somehow knew their comments wouldn't make it through and reposted them.

    Kate, if you'd like to see the letter she's responding to, I still have it saved on Word. If anyone's interested in seeing what got her knickers a-twisted.

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  48. Sure, I read it in RWR, yet maybe other people didn't.

    But honestly?

    I'm done. When I saw that Janny went on and on about the first amendment but isn't allowing any comments in her blog, I washed my hands of her.

    I finally got the picture. I take back the bit about her courage.

    When you put your fingers in your ears and go LALALALALALALA into a megaphone (tough to do with your fingers in your ears) it's not bravery, it's just obnoxious self assurance that you've got the market on the truth. Only people who actually engage in dialogue are worth the respect.

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  49. Anonymous8:49 AM

    Since you haven't posted a single response to your own blog, oh great Defender of the Constitution:

    And, please, spare us the arguments about "censorship" and "inclusiveness." Preference for "one man, one woman" stories represents what RWA has always claimed is romance's target demographic: college-educated, married, middle-class, monogamous, and moral. . . .Only in recent years has a vocal (translate: shrill) minority tried to drive RWA's focus off that path, under the guise of "broadening its horizons." But refusing to define romance according to the parameters it has held for centuries doesn't "broaden" anything . . . it only starts us down the aforementioned slope, and once we're in that slide, heaven help us.

    So, let me get this straight: Once gay romances start going mainstream, traditional hetero romance will be....forbidden? No one will ever write them anymore because everyone's reading gay fiction? Or all the straight people will be infected with some 'gay' virus and we'll all be gay and no more babies will be born?

    Why only one and not the other? Why can't they both exist (oh, my good grannie NO!) like both kinds of people do at the same time, in the same plane of reality? OH NO, *cue horror movie music* LIKE BOTH KINDS OF ROMANCE NOVELS DO NOW!?!?!

    Honestly, that argument is just silliness. People have been arguing and debating and standing their own mental ground for millenia, I seriously doubt gay romance novels are going to somehow take over all humanity's minds and make us all gay. And sweetheart, if all it takes for you to go gay is some really well written fiction, you need to maybe think about how easily swayed you are.

    Please. Invest in a grip.

    And since I'm not a blogger, nor am I a complete coward:

    Kathleen

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  50. I wasn't going to say any more on this issue, in light of the fact that I've already responded once to some of the sentiments expressed here. But I did want to put in a word or two, now that Nora has joined the fray.

    Yes, Nora, you're right. None of us in RWA is a child--the membership requirements in effect preclude that. (Which isn't to say RWA doesn't treat us like children, very often.) And you're also right, you no doubt know more people in RWA than I do. But I'd wager you probably have about the same size circle of real friends in RWA as most of us do...in respect to how many people will actually tell you the truth, dare to disagree with you, or the like. That's probably a dead heat.

    For those of you who are not members of RWA, it's worth noting that getting Nora Roberts' picture of how RWA operates is kind of like asking the Queen of England how London tube service runs. Nora, and several more like her, are simply on a different plane from the rest of us in RWA. That's not a criticism--that's simply a fact. She's a VIP. That's to her credit. (And no, it doesn't say so on her paperwork or her membership. But there are such things as unwritten perks that apply to people at this level, and we all know that.) It also means that her experience of RWA will be waaaay different, and waaaay better in most cases, than the rank-and-file of us shuffling our way around out here.

    It's also worth noting that, to paraphrase an old pop song, "I didn't start this fire." RWA did, by asking the question and running the poll in the first place. The fact that they have never revealed the results should be a red flag, but not enough of us care about it (apparently) to demand that we get answers. Not that we should have to "demand" anyway...an organization that treats its adult members like adults would have shared that information promptly and clearly.

    Further, it's not as if RWA has not already repeatedly supported certain narrow parameters--i.e., "defining"--in romance fiction, anyway. For years, category romance publishers have told us that we can't write heroes and heroines who are musicians, actors, in the theater, in sports, or the like. Yes, certain authors have gotten away with sports heroes and heroines, or rock stars, or such--but they're notable BECAUSE they're the exceptions. And chances are very good those books in which they "broke that rule" are not their first published novels. But has RWA mentioned to these publishers that that demographic may be out of the mainstream, out of date, or neglecting a potential market for the rest of us? Not a word. RWA has parroted the sales departments of the major publishers and told us, "No, no, mustn't write that, it won't sell." So we're in a rather odd situation: right now, I'd have a better chance selling a story about bisexual shape-shifter with strong vampire tendencies than I would have selling a book about a minor-league baseball player and "the girl next door." Now who's the party trying to set arbitrary definitions of who can and should "fall in love"?

    Third, I have to laugh every time I see the sentiment that RWA is somehow "buckling" under pressure from some mythical "religious right" that's attempting to control it. That's just plain nonsense. If anything, those of us who are on the conservative side of the fence are disenfranchised--or at least written off as nutjobs--by much of RWA, not the other way around. I wish I could say in all honesty that I feel RWA stands behind my choice of what to write, and what to read, but I've had proof over and over again that they don't, and they don't much care to correct that stance, either. So if RWA as an organization is "pandering" or "buckling under" to anyone, it's not the right-hand side of the equation.

    I also have to laugh every time I see the word "bigot." The supportive e-mails I've received about this stand I take all cite, "So many of us feel this way, but we're afraid of saying so because then we'll be labeled as bigots." They're right, aren't they? And isn't that a sad thing...when only one point of view is considered "correct" and right and proper to hold, and anyone else is a bigot?

    I guess there's a perception that being labeled a "bigot" is the worst thing that can happen to one nowadays. If it is, I'm here to tell you, I've been through it and lived. And I'm also here to tell you that labeling me a bigot, an ignorant right-wing bitch, or a dangerous person doesn't make me any of those things...but it does say volumes about the person doing the labeling.

    I do appreciate the sentiment that I should spend my courage and energy doing something that "will actually help people." Thank you, at least, for giving me credit for having courage; the e-mails I'm getting now bear out that I'm doing something that IS actually helping people. Whether those people are your friends or ideological soulmates, they're still people. They still count. And that's the point.

    Finally...much has been made of whether my point of view represents a "majority" or not. There's a perceived consensus that because erotic/gay/lesbian/whatever romance is growing by leaps and bounds, and flying off the shelves, those of us who prefer something a little more traditional are actually NOT the majority anymore. Comforting as that notion may be to those who consider themselves "progressive" in these areas, it's not accurate. The only fiction area that actually has continued to grow over the past several years (rather than stagnate and/or lose ground)--and grow substantially--is inspirational fiction (including inspirational romance). In fact, it's grown so fast it's leaving virtually every other area in the dust. And those sales figures don't even include substantial parts of the Christian market, such as small bookstores, which are not included in the major bestseller calculations...so who's actually in the majority here?

    It seems RWA is once again, as they are so frequently, behind the curve. The only question is if they'll choose to stay there by trying to appeal to the widest possible (or lowest possible) denominator, or if they'll wake up and smell the orange juice.

    Thanks for a lively conversation,
    Janny

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  51. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  52. Sorry for the deleted comment, Kate. It was a pre-caffeinated morning funny that posted at the same time as "Janny's" mirthless drivel above, and it just sorta...fell flat. Didn't have the heart to let it stand.

    Ms. Butler -- (I call you "Ms." because I'm betting it makes you nuts, btw.) I applaud your neat sidestepping of the laughable mess you made of the First Amendment issue. You must be a helluva dancer. Jitterbug much?

    As to your empathy for all those who've contacted you in support, bemoaning their fear of standing up and being counted among the bigots of the world? Tough titty. Minorities of all stripes, including gays, have been called names (and much, much worse) throughout history by people of your ilk. The tables are turning, if only slightly. Suck it up.

    Nobody is threatening to burn a cross on your lawn, or burn YOU at the stake. And nobody is threatening your Civil Rights. They're just willing to call you what you are, to your face -- someone who dislikes other people for being different. And that DOES appear to be who you are, Ms. Butler, all references to your love for the Lord aside.

    Your discomfort with changing times and circumstances is unfortunate. It will not keep the times and circumstances from changing.

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  53. Yeah, you know, I give up too. Clearly repeated requests for a response based in logic and fact aren't working, and I've got edits to do. This'll be my last word on it, because the letter to the editor that she's responding to states my position as succinctly as I can. So here it is:

    Dear Ms Adey, (RWR Editor)

    I continue to be amazed at the ongoing debate about the RWA definition of romance. Yes, I understand that some people are not comfortable with certain themes, but it is not RWA’s mandate to exclude every book or genre that includes any element which makes any of its nearly ten thousand members uncomfortable. If RWA attempts to do this, I can’t imagine a single book out there that would pass this test.

    I write this in response to a Letter to the Editor which stated, in part, “Please, keep romance the way it’s always/traditionally been--a marriage between a man and a woman.” This statement is not entirely accurate. RWA’s Core Purpose, Ideology, and Values statements do NOT constrain romance novels to this. In fact, they don’t exclude common themes of adultery, religion, non-traditional sexualities, forced marriages, alternate universes, the undead, shapeshifters, abortion, blackmail, or many other potentially offensive elements. Many romance novels do not end in marriage. The definition argument is not about including these elements. It’s about excluding members and books which are already recognized by the RWA, and about weeding out authors and themes that some people just don’t like.

    We, both published and unpublished, are all part of a dynamic organization with a mandate to assist ALL authors of romance. RWA does not have the power to decide what readers will buy or what publishers will print. It does not have a mandate to enforce any one brand of morality. It does, however, have the power to help its members to polish their work and nurture a vibrant writing career that celebrates the transformational power of love, in all its forms.

    Please take a moment and read the Core Ideology page of the RWA website (located under About Us), and remember what the Romance Writers of America is supposed to be--a diverse and healthy community, united in a common goal, strengthened by the free exchange of ideas and diverse experience.

    Yours,

    Amy Edwards
    writing as Amelia Elias

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  54. Nora Roberts9:43 AM

    As to my RWA experience, since it's mine, I can state that it's had its ups and downs like any other member's. As to downs, I'll just point out last year's trainwreck when I was forced to remove myself as award's emcee. The train was driven by the same person who pushed forward the let's define romance issue.

    This person no longer drives the train. Not because of me, because of RWA's political set up. It was simply the end of her term.

    Perhaps I'm naive, but I don't believe people I know and speak with, friends or acquaintances, lie to my face. In fact, many people I know feel absolutely free to disagree with me on any number of subjects.

    The nerve!

    Further I would be interested in the source of the numbers that put inspirational romance as the only area that's continued to grow in the genre. If this were true, I'm stunned and surprised that publishers--who are in the business of making money--aren't investing more time and effort into that area.

    But instead, contridictory according to your view, they would rather put that time and effort into erotica or same-sex romance thereby making it difficult for you to sell what you prefer to write.

    That's very odd.

    As I don't read in any of those areas, I suppose I should be up in arms that there are too many lanes on the Romance highway that just don't work for me. Those roads should be closed, obviously, because I don't much care for the scenery along the route.

    Btw, when in London, I ride the Tube. When in Atlanta at RWA, I stood in line like anyone else when I wanted a glass of wine or a soda. I guess next year, I'll have to pack my tiara.

    Nora

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  55. Nora Roberts wrote: Btw, when in London, I ride the Tube. When in Atlanta at RWA, I stood in line like anyone else when I wanted a glass of wine or a soda. I guess next year, I'll have to pack my tiara.

    Hey, I'll carry the tiara for you, ya never know when you're gonna need both hands to bitchslap some of the members of the shrill fringe groups out there.

    Selah wrote:
    Nobody is threatening to burn a cross on your lawn, or burn YOU at the stake. And nobody is threatening your Civil Rights.

    At a guess, her backside probably feels flayed and raw right now, regardless of the pseudo-bravado front that she's presenting. Is it me or do I detect some jealousy in her post to NR? Jealousy is such an ugly emotion dontcha think?

    Just sayin'.

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  56. I find it fascinating that when responding to Nora Roberts, Ms. Butler is able to be reasonable, original and fairly articulate, but before a 'VIP of RWA' got involved, the rest of us were spoken of as if we were the unwashed masses in inflammatory clichés and rhetoric. I must applaud Ms. Roberts for injecting a calming influence into this discussion, her mere presence seems to have shown Ms. Butler that ‘shrill’ insults will not get her anywhere.

    As for the supportive e-mails Ms. Butler claims to have received, I have no doubt her circle of friends supports her wholeheartedly. I would still like to see some of the responses I know Ms. Butler has received printed on her blog and not just the ones patting her on the back for her ‘courageous’ views.

    And while being called a bigot is not the worst thing in the world, I think we need to look at the behavior that gets people called ‘bigot.’ Case in point, the mess with Mel Gibson and his drunken rantings. He’s earned the title ‘bigot.’ Should he be proud for having the alcohol induced ‘courage’ to speak what’s truly on his mind? Will he wear the title of bigot proudly? No, and no one should. Certainly there are people who have been falsely accused of bigotry, but in some cases, if the shoe fits...sorry for the cliché, we’ve certainly heard enough of those lately – not only must you wear it, you may never be able to take it off.

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  57. Many of us have left comments on Ms. Butler's blog from yesterday (the one where she ranted about her First Amendment rights being infringed).

    Many of us wondered whether any of them would ever get to go live, since Ms. Butler has enabled moderation.

    Well, it's almost lunch time and she's now posted a new blog entry for today and there are STILL NO comments on yesterday's blog.

    Totally her prerogative, but oh, the irony.

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  58. I guess there's a perception that being labeled a "bigot" is the worst thing that can happen to one nowadays. If it is, I'm here to tell you, I've been through it and lived. And I'm also here to tell you that labeling me a bigot, an ignorant right-wing bitch, or a dangerous person doesn't make me any of those things...but it does say volumes about the person doing the labeling.

    I haven't referred to you by any name but Ms. Butler, and I have to say that what I find least persuasive about your remarks is not your perspective on how Romance is defined; it's the fact that you imply that those who share your definition of Romance are the only ones standing for anything. That those of us who support a broad and inclusive definition of Romance aren't standing for something of ethical and moral integrity, as well. Not only is that woefuly incorrect, but it speaks volumes, too.

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  59. I am a member of RWA. I am a lesbian. GASP. How on earth can I even comment on this letter by Janny Butler?

    She has a right to her opinion of course. However, her definition of romance is not mine. And I highly doubt she is getting so many "supportive" emails. As someone is also not shrill, but definitely on the fringe, I will tell you that Nora Roberts speaks for me in everything she said. There are genres I don't read because they simply are not my cup of tea. There are others that I eat up because I love romance... even if it doesn't apply to me because it is man-woman and not woman-woman.

    So now I've come out to this small portion of RWA. Shall I expect the hate mail by 5? Or will you realize that homosexuality is a viable part of the world's community and no one is going to shut any of us back in the closet ever again. And I will keep writing and reading straight romances as well as gay. Like I said, I like romance.

    My only request is that you make the story good.

    I am Stephanie Lynch, the very queer femme half of Cai Stephan. For the record, my writing partner is as straight as a board and loves me as her best friend anyway. So tolerance is alive and doing well in some parts of the RWA. Maybe it will spread instead of this ignorance as touted by Janny Butler.

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  60. P.S. Nora? Your posts were well-stated and funny. I've seen you stand in line just like anyone else. But do let me know if the tiara thing works. You might set a trend.

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  61. Okay, I'm a total dork. I actually created a blogger account just so I could attempt to post a response to Ms. Butler's blog sniffling about how repressed and downtrodden she is.

    Help, help, I'm being repressed!
    [/Monty Python]

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  62. I am coming in late on the discussion but wanted to thank Kate for mentioning it and all the great comments from authors and readers. These comments come from fear. The market is changing and although I don't write m/m I see no problem with it. I am with Nora on this one, and she has been the voice of reason since the attacks started last year with those damn freaking graphical standards.
    My problem has been that this seems to be a concentrated effort by a few SHRILL vocal members who have Dobson-like views on the world. They are the shrill ones in fear of losing their foothold in the market. To me, it is about romance, fallling in love, and HEA. There are more traditional GMC/HEA type books in gay romance at present than people give them credit for. And, if we are going to allow mainstream with romantic elements in RWA, what the heck is wrong with gay romance? Do I think it will take over the market? No, but if there is a market for well written gay romances, then so be it.
    And just for the record from someone who used to work with kids and did a lot of papers and research on sexual predators. They usually PRETEND to be hetero. That way, they don't stand out. Gay means you are interested in someone of the same sex, not a child. Of course, let's all remember it was James Dobson who told us that men should take showers with their sons.

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  63. Anonymous1:15 PM

    Wow. For a bunch of people talking about a supposedly narrow-minded and hateful lady, you certainly aren't sounding all that nice yourself.

    You comment that Jan Butler is too prejudiced. Well, from what I've read in your comments section, many of you are extremely prejudiced in the opposite direction. And prejudice is prejudice. Doesn't matter which side of the fence it's coming from.

    All this vitrol about an opinion (and it is that. I should hope it's still ok to have opinions) rather paints your side as darkly as Ms. Butler's side.

    On the matter of RWA: I'm a member, and have really had issues with it lately because *gasp* I feel that it's way too liberal/pushing the envelope. I do worry about where my dues are going, especially when the board starts making noises about starting a PAC.

    I cringe 6 days out of 7 when reading Romancing the Blog. If the writers and commenters there are any indication, the romance industry supports your viewpoint far more than the conservative one.

    If you're what the readers want, your side will win out in the end. With or without the RWA. An alternative organization will spring up to fill in where the RWA 'falls short.' If it hasn't already. The big names/moneymakers who support your viewpoint will defect, and you'll have proven your point.

    If you're not what the readers want, then you actually are a "shrill minority" trying to force an agenda. Time will tell.

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  64. Robin1:27 PM

    If you're not what the readers want, then you actually are a "shrill minority" trying to force an agenda.

    This comment suggests that those who wish to narrow the definition of Romance do not have an agenda. You cannot seriously be arguing this. While you may believe that those who share Butler's position have a worthier agenda, it is an agenda, all the same, and subject to the same analytical attention as any other agenda.

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  65. Nora Roberts1:33 PM

    I don't understand what this means:


    ~An alternative organization will spring up to fill in where the RWA 'falls short.' If it hasn't already. The big names/moneymakers who support your viewpoint will defect, and you'll have proven your point.~

    If an alternative organization springs up, why would people of the other viewpoint defect from RWA to it? Or do I misunderstand?

    I'm probably a big name/moneymaker in this example, and can't think of why I'd want to leave one organization to join one that holds views in opposition to mine.

    Be kinda wacky.

    And this:

    If you're not what the readers want, then you actually are a "shrill minority" trying to force an agenda.

    Both your post and Ms. Butler's seem to indicate that the industry is now supporting those areas, or at least open to those areas, of the genre you don't approve of. Therefore, doesn't that make you the above?

    I just don't see how you can be the minority and majority at the same time.

    You're entitled to your opinion--no argument or question there--but I'm confused by the examples and arguments used to support that opinion.

    Nora

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  66. Vitriol, yeah, I can see that. And anger--and maybe even prejudice. I've been tempted to dump a couple of remarks because I've thought they didn't express my side's point of view well. (But the only time I'll dump messages in my blog are when they're spam, they're threatening or the author asks me to. I love, love noisy discussion)

    BUT HERE IS THE ABSOLUTE MAIN IMPORTANT POINT, anonymous. Please pay attention because this is important: no one has said "Boot the bitch out! Don't let her or any other Fundamentalist/Conservative/Republican/Whatever be a part of our organization!" At least none of the RWA members I've seen.

    That's the kind of prejudice that actually can make a difference in writers' lives. That's the kind that I'm willing to raise a fuss about.

    You'll see dissension, yeah, a lot of it and not all of it nice (some of it beautiful though).

    BUT I have not NEVER EVER seen any outcry for exclusion based on the opponent's personal prejudice or preferences--at least not from the librul side of the RWA.

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  67. If you're what the readers want, your side will win out in the end. With or without the RWA. An alternative organization will spring up to fill in where the RWA 'falls short.' If it hasn't already. The big names/moneymakers who support your viewpoint will defect, and you'll have proven your point.

    If I follow your logic, you're telling me that if I disagree with you, I should found a new organization, and if the organization of which I am already a member then collapses, I'll retroactively be proven right. And that leaving the organization is somehow ethically superior than requesting that the organization to which I already belong refrain from taking a stand on a vexed social issue.

    That's the point, to me. Right now, the official RWA position takes no stand on whether gay romance (or three-way romance or werewolf/monkey romance) is or is not appropriate. Once we go there, we're going to have a fight that makes the Hundred Years War look like a garden party. Why go there? I like erotica; Susie likes inspirational fiction; at RWA, we can talk about craft and ignore our differences, and that's how it should be.

    I used, briefly, to write surveys. When I got the so-called survey, I was appalled at how badly it was written. Not only did the questions seem to force a particular answer, but they were ambiguous; they appeared to forbid non-monogamous relationships and possibly non-human relationships as well as homosexual relationships. We all have our horrid suspicions about what the results revealed; mine was that there was a strong tide against changing the definition, which was why they were suppressed. We'll never know, and I'm grateful for that.

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  68. Nora Roberts2:00 PM

    ~If I follow your logic, you're telling me that if I disagree with you, I should found a new organization, and if the organization of which I am already a member then collapses, I'll retroactively be proven right. And that leaving the organization is somehow ethically superior than requesting that the organization to which I already belong refrain from taking a stand on a vexed social issue.~


    Oh! Okay, I got it mixed up. It's still doesn't make any sense to me, but at least I think I understand what was meant now.

    And am now forced to say, still wacky.

    Nora

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  69. Anonymous2:25 PM

    I stepped in it this time, didn't I. Ach so. I do that from time to time.


    The "alternative organization" was to take the place of the RWA if for some reason the RWA decided to start placing restrictions on the definition of romance. It was not for those who think the RWA is already too liberal. The conservatives probably already have their own organization.

    As for the "shrill minority" (I thought those were Ms. Butler's words): I don't actually believe you are in the minority on this issue, at least, not within the romance community. I was merely attempting a compare/contrast type thought.

    If you are the majority (which you probably are), you're going to win in the end. Whether a shrill conservative minority yells about it or not. (And I never said the conservatives don't have an agenda. Of course they do. If you have a strong opinion, you probably have an agenda to go along with it.)

    If (a very doubtful if) there is some silent conservative majority out there in romance-reader land, as Ms. Butler seems to believe, then she is right in calling you a minority.
    I'm not saying she's right in calling for any sort of excommunication from the world of romance. Merely commenting that you actually might be in the minority on this issue, at least as far as the other RWA members are concerned. (again, I don't believe this to be the case.) It would be indeed be very interesting to see the results of that poll--I believe I read further up in the comments that there was some sort of poll taken?

    On the prejudice issue: I have had "open-mindedness" shoved down my throat by quite a few people. "Everybody is entitled to an opinion...unless your opinion opposes mine. Then you're a close-minded bigot" sometimes seems to be the mindset of both sides.

    I hope I've been able to avoid that mindset in my comments (or as much as I can and still hold a strong opinion on the matter).

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  70. By the way, I took "the chivalric romance" in college. (Great class.) The classic romance, the Ur-text, is the Arthur mythos, which, in its later French-tinged version, centers around an adulterous love triangle -- Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere -- and ends tragically.

    Obviously, RWA isn't about the chivalric romance. But I think most of us would acknowledge the Arthur/Lancelot/Guinevere triangle as a romance, just as we acknowledge Rhett/Scarlett/Ashley as a romance. Guy-meets-girl-and-settles-down is not the only way to write love. Romance novels have not historically been a hotbed of traditional family values -- for every Grace Livingston Hill there's been a Kathleen Winsor.

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  71. Anonymous2:56 PM

    Amelia, it wasn't RWA that wrote that letter, or RWA that came up with that notion in the first place. Let's not forget that this initiative died a quick death once it became public. That is, RWA members very quickly decided -not- to enshrine romance as "one man-one woman" (though I suspect that has more to do with werewolves than gays! Nothing if not inclusive around here ;). So while there might be a few former boardmembers with neanderthal attitudes, there's no reason to assume that reflects on the entire membership, who tend to be more liberal than average, not less. In fact, given the overwhelming preponderance of letters urging inclusivity, I'd suggest that you're much more likely to find gay-marriage advocates in RWA than at the local mall, say.

    And it wasn't the former president who was behind that odd initial foray into politics. It was some other boardmembers who I'm sure would not like now to be associated with it. The board itself never even voted on it-- check the minutes. I suspect a couple bomems thought they had a mandate to ask this, and did so without full board approval.

    So... not on official board move. Quickly shot down by the membership. I think that suggests that RWA is a good deal more liberal and inclusive than the nation at large, as this ill-intentioned measure got nowhere.

    A lesson to future boards-- test the waters before floating those trial balloons. Scuse the mixed metaphors!


    Pied Piper

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  72. Anonymous7:36 PM

    Just a passing remark on references to the First Amendment:

    The First Amendment, like the Constitution in general, places limits on what the government is allowed to do. The government. Forgive any statement of the obvious, here, but we need these limits on the government because it is scary and dangerous. It has the guns and the jails. It is allowed under certain circumstances to take your property without your consent. And so on.

    In general, when some ordinary person tells you you are wrong, the worst possible consequence is that you will feel bad -- and that only to the extent that you choose to take an interest in his or her opinion. Bringing up issues of freedom of speech or constitutional rights in response to someone's assertion that you are mistaken -- or even that you are an immoral nincompoop -- is just nonsensical.

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  73. Um. I'm looking at my last post and trying to figure out what Pied Piper is responding to. I know the RWA didn't write that letter that I posted--I wrote it. I did so in response to a letter to the editor written by another RWA member.

    I know I didn't mention anything about the former president, although I do remember part of the original outrage last year being because the board closed the meeting and actually didn't record the minutes during the time they discussed the graphical standards. Maybe that's what you're referring to in the minutes comment? I'm not sure.

    But you're right--last year's board sort of got their asses handed to them. People were not amused. The current RWA president has said she has no interest in trying to define romance, and I'm glad to hear it. My letter to the editor was in hopes of putting a period on the continuing debate. (I think it sorta failed, lol!)

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  74. For years, category romance publishers have told us that we can't write heroes and heroines who are musicians, actors, in the theater, in sports, or the like. Yes, certain authors have gotten away with sports heroes and heroines, or rock stars, or such--but they're notable BECAUSE they're the exceptions. And chances are very good those books in which they "broke that rule" are not their first published novels.

    This is not true. My first submission to Harlequin Presents has a cellist hero. I'm not pubbed. HP asked to see the full based on the partial. The ms is currently under consideration at HP.

    It's better to keep one's mouth shut and let people wonder about your level of ignorance than to open it and remove all doubts.

    P.S. The market will always dictate what gets bought, not some "definition" or "morality".

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  75. Y'know, I have to comment on the fact Ms. Butler refers to the majority of the books out there as "plotless wonders" and wonders where the books that aren't just about "body parts." As much as she rails against people don't have respect for her opinion, it seems by her own words, she doesn't have much respect for a large number of her fellow writers and RWA members.

    She's entitled to her opinion and it is her right to voice it. I also have the right that I personally find it somewhat offensive and small minded. Ms. Butler says she's been mocked for being a Christian; I would say I find it offensive because she acts as if all Christians think the way she does even if they don't say it out loud. She does not represent me or my opinions, nor those of most Christians I know. There's this little thing called "love thy neighbor as thyself." I'm not feeling a great deal of love emenating from Ms. Butler, but I will pray for her to find some. Soon.

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  76. While I myself find Ms. Butler's words offensive, I can dismiss them easily.

    This is a business, and ultimately the readers determine what sells. I am an author of some m/m stories as well as some m/f, and variations thereof. I make a fine living doing so, and I can say my m/m stories easily outsell my m/f.

    If the reverse were true, then I'd write more m/f. The readers determine what I write, because this is a business.

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  77. Wowza. You know, when I first heard about this, I thought the opinion stated by Ms. Butler was so outrageous as to dismiss it out of hand. I mean, I know there's a vocal contingent pushing for one man/one woman, but that letter was so heinously illogical as to be almost funny. However, it has spawned some rocking commentary, and important commentary.

    Of course both sides are pissed off. They're both threatened. The conservatives by the fact that someone else might actually have some power here, and the more liberal side by the fact that they're being attacked. So, I understand both sides being pissed off.

    What I find interesting is that never once has anyone said, "You can't write traditional man/woman romance and be a part of RWA." The same cannot be said for the other side.

    Guess which side I'm on?

    The thing that drives me crazy about this argument - as with the argument against gay marriage - is that it's so blatantly about power, it's embarrassing.

    Here's the thing. I'm straight, married, and I write traditional one man/one woman romance. And what's amazing is that for all this blah-blah-blah about traditional values, the existence of gay/lesbian/erotic novels - like the existence of gay marriage - doesn't change my life one whit. I'm not going to see a gay married couple or read a paragraph of lesbian lit and suddenly turn into a lesbian. Making room for people who are different is of no threat to anyone who is remotely secure in their spirituality, their sexuality, and their intelligence. All it does is give people who aren't like us some freakin' options, and I say hallelujah.

    I'm lucky. I grew up white and straight in a culture that really, really likes white, straight people. That does not give me the right to deny anyone access to what I have - books that speak directly to me, and a lifestyle of my choosing. As a matter of fact, it gives me the responsibility of defending those options where ever they may arise, where they hurt no one.

    And Butler Babes, rail as you might, they're not hurting anyone. They're not gateways to pedophilia; that argument is as ill-founded as it is offensive, which is quite a bit. Not everyone who is not like you is evil.

    And not everyone who is like you is good.

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  78. Anonymous4:15 PM

    Ms. Butler, having an opinion is one thing but deliberately disrupting the romance writing community with blatant, hateful commentary is downright reprehensible. You have sought to exclude writers from the romance community by creating a wedge between them and the largest organization promoting romance. Shame on you!

    I truly hope that there are publishers and agents paying attention to the letters and blog commentary you've been spewing the past few weeks. Why? To bring someone like you on board as a writer would be inviting trouble to their organizations. I have no doubt in my mind you would continue your efforts to promote your hate-filled agenda. You are a problem best avoided.

    Perhaps you should try to open your mind to the fact that having a broad range of what constitutes romance is good for the genre and is part of the reason romance is the highest selling genre. Variety is good for business, readers enjoy having more choices and that helps all of us, whether we write mainstream, inspirational, erotic, or something else.

    Cynthia

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  79. Still no comments showing up in the "where's my freedom of speech?" rant Ms. Bulter posted the other day in her blog. I keep to checking to see if my comment has shown up yet. It hasn't, of course. I may die of shock.

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  80. Ms Butler,

    I think everyone has a right to an opinion, but when said opinion excludes or tries to eliminate free speech, that in itself is wrong.

    You have the right to say what you feel because of "free speech". What you are suggesting happen with the definitions of romance "limits" free speech. Illegal/harmful activities such as child molestation is not something I would ever consider protected under free speech and to me is not a valid argument.

    My point is, simply, you have a right to voice your opinion, you have a right to vow to being a right wing conservative.

    What you don't have a right to do is force others or organizations that cover the whole into limiting only to your views.

    You publish inspirational romances? Christian romances. In another country or another part of the world which does not allow free speech, your books would be considered blasphamous. Do you really want to narrow the organization to only represent what you consider morally right?

    You said in your recent post:

    "....I'm doing something that IS actually helping people. Whether those people are your friends or ideological soulmates, they're still people. They still count. And that's the point."

    What would someone say to Hitler's friends. "You supported your friend and therefore changed the world as we know it".

    I am totally against anyone that tries to force their views in such a way that limits the ability for others to express their views. Whether it be in print media or politics.

    If that makes me a lefty, so be it. But in my world and views, we both have a right to exist and follow our beliefs. In your world, it means only one of us survives.

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  81. Anonymous12:30 AM

    Go Nora!! Woot woot woot! I'm not a fan club joiner, but I may join your fan club just over this.

    It's hard to imagine anything I could add to this debate that hasn't been said already. But as an erotica author who's shopping a manuscript featuring a lesbian romance and who has recently moved and worries about joining an RWA chapter that might not be accepting of her, it's hugely reassuring to see so much support for those of us who write on the margin. In particular, it warms my heart to see the most powerful and respected voice in the industry say "Hey, whether or not I read it, I and the people I know support its right to exist."

    Thank you!

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  82. Brava, Nora! I knew there was a reason I worshipped you.

    As to Butler's argument -- which is that accepting gay romance somehow will result in the publication of pedophile romances -- huh? Romance houses publish what straight women find sexy. Straight women find nothing sexy about pedophillia. Many of us do find a great deal erotic about gay romances, for the exact same reason many straight men find the thought of two women together to be sexy. We like the other sex. A lot.

    Kids, however, are not sex objects, period.

    Evangelicals are fond of claiming that gay men are all pedophiles, and any acceptance of homosexuality will result in accepting pedophila. This is absurd. The obvious difference is that in a gay relationship, both people consent, and both people are having a good time.

    Pedophilia, however, is the WMD of sex -- it destroys the child. It will therefore never be accceptable, because the damage done to the victim is so great.

    My husband is a polygraph examiner, and many of the cases he handles deal with pedophiles. He maintains that pedophiles are neither gay nor straight -- they're PEDOPHILES. Now, who has kids? Women. Therefore, most pedophiles pose as straight men. They're the guy who hooks up with the divorced woman so he can get his hands on her daughter.

    And nobody will ever find ANYTHING erotic about that.

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  83. I know I am REALLY late in replying to this thread, but I'm gonna put in my 2 pennies anyway, 'k?

    As a "mature" college student who has studied a bit of social theory and the evolution of human behavior, I can self-assuredly say that the whole "one man/on woman, it's always been this way" mumbo jumbo is BULLSHIT.

    There are not just two kinds of gender. Social theoriests speculate that there could be 4-6 kinds of gender (and defining them would take up a whole blogspace), as such, there is an infinite number of relationships that human beings form--romantic and otherwise. It has ALWAYS been THIS way. The human race is a complex social web, and there is no right or wrong kind of romantic relationship between consenting adults.

    Homosexuality, orgies, three-somes, multi-partner households, you name it, these have existed between humans since time immemoriable. Ain't nothing going to change that.

    That being said, I think all of you alternative erotic/romance writers aught to form your own club :). Who needs RWR anyway?

    I'm not a writer, but I do enjoy the genre, and hate how RWR is treating this genre's writers.

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  84. This has been a very illuminating discussion. For the past little while I have been considering joining RWA. I am a member of a few different writing organizations, but after seeing all the pictures and hearing all the fun posts in various blogs about RWA in Atlanta, I started to wonder if membership would be worthwhile. This controversy has made up my mind for me. Regardless of where I stand on the issue of the RWA definition of romance I am appalled by the vile opinions being spouted. Correct me if I'm wrong here. On one side we have a person or group of people who want romance to be defined one way, on the other side, is a group of people who believe the opposite. So far the words bigot, prejudice, bitch and or bitch-slap (and that's just the start)have been used. Whether you're on one side of the issue or the other, it's pretty ridiculous for a group of professional writers to be reduced to name calling and ranting over an opinion. That's what this is about people, an opinion. Where I come from there's a saying; Opionions are like asses, everybody's got one but some are bigger than others.

    I understand free speech, I understand strong opinion, but really why should one person's opinion (that does not cause physical harm to another) cause such an uproar. If you believe in acceptance and tolerence isn't allowing people an opinion pretty much a given? That's why organizations such as RWA aren't a dictatorship, because one person's opinion shouldn't be enough to decide an issue.

    Aside from that, isn't this an issue of conscience on both sides? On the evangelical Christian side, homosexual love and writing is something that their faith defines as wrong. You may not agree, you don't have to, but can you in good conscience ask them to abandon their tenents of their faith? On the other side, for the writers and readers of homosexual love stories the beliefs within are important and deeply felt. Is it right to ask either side to go against their moral compass because someone else doesn't agree with them?

    I am an evangelical Christian. I understand the opinion of the letter writer and I understand the deeply felt opinions of each commenter on this blog. Because of my faith I don't read or write homosexual romance, but that is my personal decision. I don't expect others to live by my conscience and I have enough of my own moral failures and struggles to work out that I don't need to point out where others aren't adhering to the principles that God lays on MY conscience.

    My point is that I want to belong to an organization where the views of its members are respected and where its members are there to support each other in the realm of writing, even when they have different beliefs. Not everyone has to agree, but being allowed an opinion (no matter which side you're on)without an outpouring of hatred and personal attacks is essential.

    Sara Mills

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  85. Anonymous6:32 PM

    In response to Sara Mills:

    The issue is that Jan Butler isn't just espousing an opinion, she's urging a course of action (based on that opinion) that would exclude people who write romances that feature homosexual sex. This kind of condemnation and exclusion is offensive to many people (myself included) and it DOES harm people (since it would keep people out of the RWA). And no, I DON'T respect that opinion or that call to action. Of course Jan Butler has the right to her opinions - and no one here has said she doesn't - but no one has to a) agree with it b) respect it or c)go along with her call to exclude people.

    As many people have already pointed out, no one is asking Janny to "abandon the tenets of her faith." Janny can scream "god hates gays" all she wants, she just can't keep them out of the RWA. She can continue to play god and judge other people's "sins" all she wants - but she has no right to impose that judgement on the entire RWA.

    If she had merely said "I don't like gay romances," that would be one thing. But she hasn't confined herself to that. Instead, she's said, "I don't like gay romances, so you shouldn't be able to write them or read them." That is unacceptable. And you know what? That meets the definition of a "bigot." So if Janny doesn't like being called a bigot, she shouldn't act like one.

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  86. Anonymous6:40 PM

    In response to Sara Mills:

    The issue is that Jan Butler isn't just espousing an opinion, she's urging a course of action (based on that opinion) that would exclude people who write romances that feature homosexual sex. This kind of condemnation and exclusion is offensive to many people (myself included) and it DOES harm people (since it would keep people out of the RWA). And no, I DON'T respect that opinion or that call to action. Of course Jan Butler has the right to her opinions - and no one here has said she doesn't - but no one has to a) agree with it b) respect it or c)go along with her call to exclude people.

    As many people have already pointed out, no one is asking Janny to "abandon the tenets of her faith." Janny can scream "god hates gays" all she wants, she just can't keep them out of the RWA. She can continue to play god and judge other people's "sins" all she wants - but she has no right to impose that judgement on the entire RWA.

    If she had merely said "I don't like gay romances," that would be one thing. But she hasn't confined herself to that. Instead, she's said, "I don't like gay romances, so you shouldn't be able to write them or read them." That is unacceptable. And you know what? That meets the definition of a "bigot." So if Janny doesn't like being called a bigot, she shouldn't act like one.

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  87. I would like to state for the record that I am so sick of the way "disagreement" is now taken to mean "intolerance," I could vomit. People who want to deny other people the same rights and privileges they enjoy--they're the ones who are being intolerant. Those of us who disagree? Most of us are offering a dissenting opinion. Yeah, we're sometimes rude with the disagreement, but we're not being intolerant. That happens only if we want them shut censored, jailed or have them deprived of their rights. And so far, precious few of us liberal nuts are calling for Butler to be denied the right for her to express herself. For the love of baby Ganesh, people! LEARN THE DIFFERENCE. DO NOT MAKE ME CHOKE A BITCH.

    (I guess that makes me intolerant of people who don't know the difference "intolerance" and "disagreement." DOH.)

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  88. In response to Anonymous,

    This whole letter drama was based upon a poll that RWA conducted. Guess what? Polls are about opinion. That's what a poll is. RWA members were asked what they believe constitutes romance writing in the realm of RWA.

    Of course this is about opinions.

    Sara Mills

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  89. "On the evangelical Christian side, homosexual love and writing is something that their faith defines as wrong. You may not agree, you don't have to, but can you in good conscience ask them to abandon their tenents of their faith?"

    Sara: I fail to see how having gay romances and gay romance authors be accepted as part of the RWA in any way violates ANYBODY'S religious tenets. It's not as if we're forcing Jan Butler, you or anyone else to write homosexual romances.

    I wish somebody would clarify that for me in a way that would make sense. What Butler suggests would, in effect, alienate a segment of the romance-reading and -writing population. Accepting gay romances, on the other hand, infringes on nobody's rights and alienates only...those who somehow feel like they're being FORCED to read or write gay romances? I don't know. It really doesn't compute.

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  90. Funny, your letter was published, you were allowed to respond, and no one has said you've no right to express, nor even to have, your opinions.

    Seems a funny sort of censorship.

    What I have seen is people who think your opinion bigoted, saying so, which is only their right, but incumbent on a moral person who sees something they think to be a moral wrong.

    In short they are doing what you think you are doing.

    All in all, I tend to agree with them, your attempt to censor the writings of those who belong to the RWA (or to exclude them, for lack of adherence to what your, narrow, views on love demand are bigoted.

    I also happen to think your cries of "pity me, I'm being attacked" are red herrings, in that they don't adress the issue, which is that some people like some things, some like others, and saying that love is something which can be prescribed, is bigoted.

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  91. Funny how that works, Candy. I'm intolerant of intolerance. I know that. But I would never tell someone who has beliefs I see as bigoted that they can't have those beliefs and can't shout them from the rooftops. Unfortunately, many of those I see as bigoted aren't willing to give the same consideration to those who disagree with them. Maybe it's a control thing. It's like they want to stamp out or at least marginalize all opposing views.

    I think JFK had it right when he said, "If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity." I wish more people thought that way.

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  92. Readers are the ones who define romance. Not RWA. They define it when they go to the store and buy a romance novel. It doesn't matter if its a romance between man and woman, woman and woman, man and man, or man and the shapeshifting horse grazing in the pasture. If there is a market for it that means readers are buying it - therefore they are defining what romance is acceptable.

    This letter in RWR is a ridiculous complaint anyway. If I don't want to buy male male romance then I don't buy it. I go right on over to Iris Johansen's newest book and swipe it before someone else does. The end.

    I doubt very seriously that if RWA HAD voted out male male romance that publishers would have also said no no to male/male and turn down the money that comes with that market. LOL

    And one last thing. Nora Roberts worked for that tiara by climbing throught he same muck the rest of us do. And I doubt seriously you become one of the top selling romance novels by being naive and a flake when it comes to the organizations and industry people you deal with.

    Okay, I'm done.

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  93. Hullo - here via linkage from LiveJournal, where I'm known as jackytar; my right name is Bill. I'm a layman so far as writing is concerned - at most I may be accused of perpetrating fanfic from time to time - but I found Ms. Butler's comments and the responses here interesting.

    I find it interesting that Ms. Butler was calling for a move which would, in simplest terms, restrict what types of romance members of the RWA could address in their work, yet objects when people disagree with her, and accuses her detractors of trying to stifle her voice. It strkes me that she was, in fact, attemtping to stifle their creative voices. This in turn strikes me as hypocrisy of no small order.

    As to Jonquil's comment, "Right now, the official RWA position takes no stand on ... werewolf/monkey romance)" - heh! I may just have to dust off my Strunk and White and take a whack at writing some of that.

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  94. Nora Roberts7:07 AM

    Sara, if Ms. Butler had written a letter as reasoned and fair as the one you posted here, there would have been no drama. You very clearly stated your beliefs, and nowhere in the text did you demand, offend or call anyone who disagreed shrill or wrong or sinful.

    You stated your opinion, gave the reason for it, and expressed the wish that everyone respect the opinion of others. I don't believe anyone would have questioned that. I certainly wouldn't have.

    From the sound of your post you don't merely voice your faith, you live it.

    Note to Sable: I'm still finding dried bits of muck between the prongs of my tiara.

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  95. Back in the day, ie, early 70's, I recall romance novels being defined as absolutely NO even remote reference to *gasp* sex. I think it was Autumn of the Witch, if I remember right, that first hinted, behind a closed door, of a intimate relationship between the main 'unmarried' couples. It was risque for its time.

    This argument sort of reminds me of the arguments that must have gone on as to just how much sex could you include and still be 'romance'. Now we read it as just a normal romance, but back in the day, it wasn't. Erotic Romance was the exact same in the 70's as Gay/Lesbian romance today. So ladies of the RWA, I think you forgot that boat.

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  96. Anonymous2:27 PM

    Go Nora!

    Shame on you, Ms. Butler!

    --Cass

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  97. Anon7610:16 AM

    Yes, I'm posting Anon.

    Coward? Yes. The entire issue is just too hot, and it involves way too much politics and religion for my taste.

    However, as I see it (in my very simplified manner) there is a huge difference in the following two statements.

    1) I prefer not to live on the same street with gays...therefore I will either not buy a house there or (sticking to my guns) move out of my current home.

    2) I prefer not to live on the same street with gays...therefore I will go to my local zoning board, city council, etc., and get an ordinance passed so they CANNOT live on the street I choose.

    Over simplified? Yes. Not covering all the different combinations of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, nationality, political bent, etc.? Yes.

    But for me it's just a "fill in the blanks" type situation.

    Which of those two options would you choose? And upon choosing, which one item, or combination of items would be your trigger?

    Me, I choose option 3.

    3) I may have nothing in common with you, other than being a human being, and therefore I shall not judge based on these factors lest I be judged. If you choose to live on this street, I will do you no harm.

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  98. Anonymous4:38 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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