“research” With A Little ‘r’ (cross-posted from Oldbitey Bites tumblr)

I know  when you write about romance fiction romance is supposed to get a little r. The capital R is reserved for use when referring that literary genre of high culture with quests, brave knights, ladies, courtly love, and all that jazz.  I think the use of a small r for romance fiction (and pink and hearts and clinch covers) is a reason modern romance novels are denigrated. Well, here’s another. Some of us romance writers are up in arms today over this little story about how romance fiction poses a threat to women’s sexual health.

Read it and you might agree we’re our own worst enemy when it comes to romance novels and research. Annie, Aretha and Oldbitey are cheesed off because “research” like Susan Quilliam’s, says, women who read romance novels are getting life and love and sex all wrong. Romance readers are making a mess of their lives because romance novels are not good role models. Sisters are not doing it for themselves, they’re doing it to themselves.

Hang on. Didn’t I blog about something “to ourselves” yesterday (See What Do We Want)

Here’s an idea. Can we stand up for one another rather than knock down and reduce romance readers to little r’s again and again?  How about showing some respect for your fellow sex? If you can’t, at least wear a condom or a dental dam-like device when you undertake this sort of poorly investigated research. And crack open a 21st Century contemporary Romance novel before you start typing up your notes.

Ye Gods.

The Billionaire Pizza Guy’s Hot Latin Green Card Bride.

Pulled right from the pages of REAL LIFE! It’s not just a cliched plot device. Marriages of convenience aren’t the stuff of mere fiction. Romance novels DO get it right!

Los Angeles, California (CNN) — A well-known Mexican soap opera star, Fernanda Romero, and her American husband face federal charges of entering a sham marriage so she could get legal residency in the United States.

The government said the fake marriage was exposed when a jilted boyfriend, fashion photographer Markus Klinko, called the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

"This actor should have realized that posing as a bride for immigration purposes could land her a role in a real-life crime drama," Special Agent Miguel Unzueta said.

The 28-year-old Romero appeared in at least 15 television shows and films since 2005, according to the Internet Movie Database, when prosecutors allege she paid Kent Ross, a pizza delivery man and musician, to marry her.

All the necessary ingredients are in place. Gorgeous woman. Lots of money, a villainous jilted boyfriend…Some of you might argue that this is ready-made crust for a wakka-wakka-down-down porn feature by default, since it features the pizza guy, but trust me, this thing has romance all over it, right down to the cheese.

Sure, it needs a couple of tweaks; Kent (Hello! Is that a name that screams romantic lead or what?), the Pizza Delivery Guy Husband, needs to be an Heir to a Pizza Empire. It needs to be made clear that he’s only delivering pies because his father thinks it’s a character building exercise and his boy needs to learn the business from the ground up. That in itself is why this real-life drama is tailor-made for Harlequin. 

However, if you want to pull it out of the territory of Harlequin category romance, if you want to make it a single title paperback, then the hero can’t be the Billionaire Pizza guy. The hero has to be the ICE Special Agent.  As the fraud case begins to come together, just before Special Agent Unzueta escorts Fernanda to the border, he falls for the Latina heroine. Soon, he uncovers the fact the Billionaire’s Pizza Family (BPF) is involved in organinsed crime. He figures out this is not fraud, the aim was not a marriage of convenience for a green card. It’s a hostage trade and the heroine is a pawn. She’s been traded to the BPF by her brother who is the head of a Drug Cartel South o’ the Border…

Yeah, you can so see it can’t you? In fact, you want to write it.