Saturday, June 16, 2012

Are Men Incapable Of Writing Romance? KevaD Speaks Out.

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome the multi talented KevaD to give his take on a question burning up the loops of late about male authors and romance.

Q) I've heard recently that some reviewers believe men are incapable of writing romance. I personally think this statement is ludicrous. Do you have any thoughts on this topic?

A) Yeah…I do.
Gender bias exists on a number of levels within the world of writing, and I find that so sad. Some women don’t think men can write romance, some men don’t think women can write action/adventure, suspense, or thriller. Some gays don’t believe women can write about two men. I’ve encountered female MM authors who don’t think I, being a heterosexual male, should write MM stories. Talk about hypocrisy in action. Anyway, the lists of biases go on and on.

Ironically, this bias doesn’t just cause some readers to miss out on many superb books, but causes a few writers to don opposite gender personas. Leigh Greenwood has twenty-nine hugely successful romance novels to his gender balanced name. Bestselling Jennifer Wilde is really Tom E. Huff. The shit hit the fan when Jennifer’s true identity became known. Michael Little is an RWA chapter president, multi-published author, and a man, as are SL Carpenter, JW McKenna, and Chris Tanglen. That list goes on and on as well.
On the opposite side of the coin, we find names like Jamie Freveletti writing bestselling action/adventure thrillers, and being referred to as “he” when Jamie is a woman. NYT Bestselling author PJ Parrish, creator of the Louis Kincaid and Joe Frey thriller series, is actually two sisters. CE Lawrence, who authors serial killers…is the pen name of a female writer. These ladies aren’t alone in the public assumptions, whether they be or not be orchestrated to that end, that they are men.
In the MM genre, if the author uses initials, the current assumption is the author must be a woman and the bias door swings open once again.
Sadly, bias isn’t limited to gender, but race and whatever else narrow minded people can find to discriminate with.

The bottom line is, the narrow minded are the ones losing out on wonderfully written stories. Unfortunately, some of those same individuals are the first to speak up on how the above authors I’ve mentioned are incapable of doing, because of their gender, what in fact they have made careers doing. Even more unfortunately, in the last month I’ve seen three romance review sites proclaim how men can’t write romance, and even an e-book editor commented recently on how she can spot any story written by a man.
Right. Sure she can.
Jeez, people….Get a life….And a brain.

What fricking difference does it make? Reading is about enjoying the story. At least it should be. And where did we get the idea that bias and discrimination isn’t acceptable, except when it comes to authors? I’d wager that if authors used numeric identifications instead of names, very few people would ever be able to guess the gender, race, religion, and nationality of the majority of authors.
And if you are about to say, “I could,” then the CIA and law enforcement as whole are looking for you, because the greatest handwriting analysts in the world don’t always get it right. Call them. They have a job waiting for you. You’ll even have an office all by yourself because you’re one of a kind.
On a parallel side issue, very, very few readers “require” an author to have actually visited the location, domestic or foreign, in which a story takes place. Yeah. The readers are in it for the story, for the thrills, love, and excitement of whatever genre and location in which the story occurs.
And that’s exactly how it should be.

H.C. Well said.
The first romance I read was  Fanny Hill written by a man by the name of John Cleland,  followed closely by Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe both written in the 18C, my favorite historical period. So, way back men were stamping their mark as great authors of erotic romance.  I could quote a whole list of wonderful authors I’ve enjoyed reading over the years. In my writing career, I’m often mistaken for a man and honestly, I take this as a compliment.
I read stories I enjoy and I usually end up reading every book that author has written regardless of gender. The fact that a reader can enjoy a story no matter who is on the other end of the pen is the mark of a good author.

I welcome your comments.

KevaD has a wonderful new ROMANCE book out today, I highly recommend you put  Kantu’s Heart on your TBR list. Here are the details and an excerpt to tempt you.

Title: Kantu’s Heart
Release Date: 13 June 2012
Author: KevaD
Author Website:
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Genre : Romance, Suspense, Time Travel

Blurb: Before the ice age, warrior Kantu lost his tribe, his mate Sanda, and his life to a vicious band of cannibals led by his most powerful enemy. He awakens in a world beyond his comprehension only to find his mate in the arms of her killer. Misery and strength meld into one goal—to win back his heart and kill his enemy.

With a nudge from her gentle guardian, Sandra Harn travels to Freewill, WY, looking for bargains at the annual rummage sale and, hopefully, answers to her mysterious past. Once there, visions of a time before the town existed make her question her sanity. When an exotic stranger with flowing raven hair and a body she can’t resist tries to kill her companion, logic tells her to run, but her heart and body have other ideas.

Sanda’s gaze dropped to Kantu’s chest. He glanced at his shirt hanging on a fence post and hoped his skin would not offend her in this world where everyone covered their bodies.
“How did you get those scars.” Her hand started to reach out to him; she jerked it back and folded her arms under her bosom. Her nipples dotted the pink of her shirt. Sanda raised her arms to conceal the delicate rises of flesh he had sucked and licked once upon a time gone by.
A cloud of sadness dampened his eyes. He breathed deep to try and clear his mind of the memory of her breasts, their taste and feel in his mouth, the wetness between her thighs when he entered her, the tightness of his sac before his seed flowed. He grimaced and turned his back to her.
“Did I say something wrong?” Her voice trembled. “I’m sorry if I did.”
“No,” he said in a constricted breath. “It is not you. The scars are the mark of a warrior. My father dragged a claw across my body three times - one for each man I killed my first time in battle.”
“Are you serious? You killed three men? Were you in the army or something?”
He clamped his lips together. His eyes burned, and a tear streaked down his face. This Sanda did not know him at all.
“No.” Her voice softened to a tuft of air. “You weren’t. I know that. I just don’t know how I know that.” A barely audible sigh sounded behind him. “I sometimes see the forest at the MGR before it existed, when it was an open plain. One night the whole town melted into nothing, and I was alone with grass all around me. I could feel the dew on each blade.”
Her fingers touched his shoulder, her natural, wild scent floated into his nostrils. He rested his cheek on the back of Sanda’s hand. Sparks of desire flickered through him, a longing to be held by his mate, his heart, quivered in his chest and arms.
“I know you, don’t I?” A tremor vibrated from her fingers into his shoulder.
He lifted her hand to his cheek and turned to face her. Her eyes shone like summer rain as her gaze drifted back and forth as if searching for something she believed might be found in his eyes, but couldn’t quite see.
“Yes,” he whispered.


  1. Hi HC,
    Many thanks for allowing me to appear on your blog.
    I hope you have some buckets of water stashed away in case anyone decides to storm the castle for my head.

  2. If anyone storms the castle I have my dungeon ready....and my flogger. Come on down :-D

  3. When I was in college, one of my neighbors polled a few hundred of us with a set of writing samples, asking us to guess the gender of the author. I don't remember whether I got barely more than half right or barely less than half right, but I did comparatively well.

    1. Hi, Amber. ;-)
      Thanks for coming by. You know I apporeciate it.
      Glass half empty, you couldn't distinguish the other 50%.
      Still waiting for you to finish Monk's story by the way.

  4. A subject after my own heart. KevaD. :-) First, best wishes with Kantu's Heart. You are a gifted author, even if you do pee standing up.JK! This subject has hit me square between the eyes too. Some of my most critical reviews have come from gay reviewers. Gay readers, shockingly, are fine with this straight, mid-every-description-cliche you can find for me. It should be about the story and the author's OBLIGATION to do a credible job researching the subject and writing a believable book. Some readers really get off on chicks with dicks stories. Others really want to believe you understand the gay lifestyle - or whatever lifestyle you're writing about - and that's when the accolades and condemnation can come. There's enough discrimination in the gay community. I don't see why we need to add to it by discriminating against the authors who write it, too.

    BTW, I am 2011 GLBT Author of the Year and my debut M/M book, Hard as Teak was 2011 GLBT Book of the Year at LRC. People write great books. What's between your legs should have nothing to do with it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Margie. I couldn't have said it better myself. I'd LOVE to discuss the M/M and female author issues we face daily, with you on your blog. I'm free any day any time :-)

    2. Hi Margie!
      Thank you for stopping in.
      I was involved with many community programs trying to educate neighbors about discrimination and improving our community.
      To be honest, I blindly never suspected gender bias would exist between reviewers and authors, let alone between authors and authors.
      Readers continue to be the most logical of us all. God bless them.

  5. Are men capable of writing romance? Why does this question come up again and again? For a long time in the West, the question was "Are women capable of writing, period," although the evidence they are dates back at least to Sappho. Curiously, it was the reading public who doubted they were, NOT male writers. (Publishers knew women were capable of writing but doubted they could sell books written by women.) I'm ready to forgive readers their bias and ignorance, but it really gets to me that writers today, men or women, think that authorship in any genre is gender specific.

    We may as well ask if romance authors are capable of writing at all. Lord knows 1) many people claim they aren't, and 2) in some cases they are right.

    1. Thanks for dropping by. I posted this topic because I'm sick of hearing this from both sides of the fence. Authors should never be considered as gender specific. We are either great writers or we are not.

    2. Unfortunately, Anel, the questions do keep coming up - and they shouldn't.

      When HC asked if she could ask me this question, I said 'bring it on' as I'd just read several public posts how men can't write romance. Those posts also just happened to appear on the heels of a discussion I'd had with a talented female author of acton/adventure, and the bias she encounters in her chosen genre.

      Why people feel the need to attack authors becuase of gender, race, religion, whatever...escapes me. Especially when it's authors and reviewers making the derogatory statements (the ones that caught my latest attention, anyway, and initiated this diatribe).

      Every author deserves to be judged on the merits of her or his work, and nothing else.

  6. Bias is wrong. Discrimination is unacceptable. This mantra has been drummed into your collective psyches for years and years. Yet, in the 21st century, it still exists.

    Having been on the receiving end of gender bias, I spoke out about, made inquires to various people within the industry and have been met with silence, indifference and was told by an active member in the LBGTQ community to shut up and go to the back of the bus and sit down. The standing line given: 'Hey, there's bias all over the place, accept it.' I wonder if Martin Luther King or those behind the Stonewall movement should have taken the same advice?

    Actually, I am.

    Suffice to say, I will NEVER write another price of FF fiction again. Unless I'm given an obscene amount of advance monies.

    Best wishes for success with Kanu's Heart. You deserve it.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go fortify my keep. Boil some oil and man the ramparts. The mob gathers..

  7. Oh man that sounds heartbreaking! For him to remember and know she doesn't. A serious bad sad. Must read this one.

    As for men not writing romance. He isn't exactly romance, but I'll never forget being in my bunk at camp and hearing the older girls reading Harold Robins out loud. (Shh, was church camp at that)

    There is a blogger who addresses bias twits like mentioned.

    The romance man addresses from both angles. Reader and writer. He said he'd heard all kinds of nasty from admitting he loves reading romance.

    Great interview!


    1. Thank you, Dana.
      I really enjoyed writing Kantu's Heart and hope readers will find the story enjoyable as well.

  8. Please bear in mind my penchant for snark and sarcasm while reading this reply.

    Of course men can't write romance that will appeal to women. That's a gender line that should never, ever be crossed. Just like women have no business in the cockpit of a jet fighter or toting a pack and a gun onto a battlefield. Everyone knows that women can't write m/m, men can't write f/f, and everyone should keep their jacks in the circle of their own gender and orientation. Just like everyone knows the earth is flat.
    And if you believe ANY of the tripe I just spewed above, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn at a price you won't be able to pass up.
    The fact is, it doesn't (or shouldn't) matter who's wielding the (increasingly metaphorical) pen. I've met men I wouldn't share a foxhole with if they were my only hope for survival and women I'd readily entrust my life to. I've seen women write excellent m/m work, men who've written amazing f/f tales, and straight authors of both genders who write terrific GLBT stories.
    Gender doesn't matter nearly as much as a writer's ability to create a good story. The fact is, when I'm reading a story of ANY kind, I don't give a damn about the plumbing or sexual identity of the writer. What matters to me is, am I reading a good story? If the answer's yes, then great. If it's no, then it's not a gender issue in my mind, but a story issue.
    But those of you who want to cling to the notion that the world's flat, be my guest. Those of us who know better will keep circumnavigating while you tumble off the edge of the map as a direct result of your own ignorance.

  9. Thank you for your comments, everyone.
    I appreciate your weighing in.

  10. A little late to the party, I know, but thought I should weigh in anyway. Sensationalism sells. Sensationalism gets ratings, gets readers angry, and when readers (and writers) are angry they talk about stuff and bring all that lovely traffic to the arrogant sensationalists website/blog/post. Saying Men can't write romance, or women cant write MM and all those lovely generalization is just a way to drum up attention to those people who know very well what they're doing. I don't really think the majority of it is ignorance, or stupidity, I firmly believe that it's very calculated and self serving. Maybe I'm cynical, or think far too highly of people's intelligence but it just seems like too much of a coincidence that all of these generalizations continue to permeate the blogosphere when there is sooooooo much proof that none of this (the generalizations) is true.

    Maybe the best thing everyone can do is stop beating down the doors when some "idiot" spouts off about their "backward" opinion because if they can't get the traffic for saying stupid shit, then maybe, just maybe they'll get a life. A hater's gonna hate, but why are we making it profitable?

    That's not to say that we shouldn't work every day to prove them all wrong, and the authors I work with do just that. I've never judged a book by the gender, race or any other personal traits of an author and I've read some amazing works. My life is fuller for it.

    Authors like David, Heather, and far, far too many to list show us with their passion that ANYTHING is possible. There isn't a sensationalist or an idiot anywhere that can make me think differently.

    David, best of luck with your stories. You're really an amazing story teller and an inspiration.


  11. I agree with you all and have nothing else to add. I wish those who disagree would be brave enough to give a logical explanation why.