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April 17, 2009


Have you seen the YouTube featuring Susan Boyle? The judges took one look at Ms. Boyle, listened to her talking and decided she wouldn’t be able to sing. The music started, Ms. Boyle started singing and smashed apart every one of the judges’ preconceptions, showing true talent. The audience loved her. Millions of people have watched the performance on YouTube. I’m one of them, and I smiled the entire way through. Her performance was amazing.

It made me think about stereotypes when it comes to the romance community. Don’t authors lounge around wearing flowing pink dresses (sometimes with ruffles) and eat lots of chocolates while they’re writing about arrogant alpha males and quivering virgin heroines? And don’t romance readers wear thick glasses, fluffy bathrobes and stay at home with their fictional friends on a Saturday night, eating lots of chocolate while they’re reading their chosen genre?

We know these stereotypes are wrong. Lots of people don’t and accept the above descriptions (or something similar) because they don’t know any better. Well, the chocolate part might be right, but you understand what I mean. We’re all individuals who love the written word and reading/writing about love and romance. Stereotypes are wrong, and we should wait before judging anyone. First impressions aren’t always right, but we’re probably all guilty of judging or applying sterotypes at some time or another. I know I have.

A few days ago, Julia tagged me with a meme called Keeping It Real. I had to post a photo of myself taken without primping and doing ordinary things. The photo caught me on a day when I wasn’t wearing pink, but I’m in my second office i.e. my chair with my laptop. As you can see – no stereotypes here.


I’m meant to tag people, so if you’re brave enough, consider yourself tagged. Follow the Keeping it Real link above and scroll down to the bottom of the post. I have to say that Julia takes a great photo.

How would you describe a writer or a reader? (You can have fun making up a stereotype or you can do a truthful description of a writer/reader as you see them)


  1. Leah Braemel

    LOL, if a picture were taken of me right now, I’d fulfill one of the stereotypes.

    Thick glasses? Check (though not as thick as they could be since they invented a technique to make the lenses thinner). To make the stereotype worse, I wear TWO pair. One for computer-distance, and a pair of trifocals for long-distance and reading (the middle distance isn’t good enough, that’s why the other pair.) I’m constantly flipping between the two pair, which is why I often wear one up on my head while the other pair is on my nose.

    Fluffy pink bathrobe? Also check. *sigh* I woke up at 5 a.m. and didn’t want to disturb my husband by turning on the light to get dressed, so I grabbed my bathrobe. Yup. It’s pink and it’s fluffy. Sorry, but it’s warm and comfy, and it was handy.

    Chocolate? Well, I have some rice cakes on my desk that have chocolate in them. So I guess I fail that one too.

    Stay at home on Saturday nights? Check again. But not with fictional friends – with my DH of nearly 31 years.

    I don’t dress that way usually though, LOL. Usually I wear a pair of fuzzy plaid pants from Old Navy when I write, and a t-shirt or sweater depending on the weather. Comfort is everything. The glasses? Yeah, can’t ditch them.

  2. Lucinda

    I know people who think that the stereotype from Romancing the Stone is how romance writers really are—lonely women who have to fall in love with their characters, because they can’t find a good relationship in real life. Most of the romance writers I’ve met online are either happily married or have no trouble at all finding romance in real life.
    The readers, too, I’ve found come from all age groups and all walks of life. I think the stereotype you mentioned above is just another way for literary snobs to put down the genre.
    BTW, you take a great picture.

  3. Amy Ruttan

    LOL! I’m on the corner of my L shaped couch with a lap top and papers around me. Hehehe.

    I’ll have to do this soon. So people can see the belly and the unglamorousness of me. LOL!!

  4. Kaye Manro

    That’s a great photo, Shelley. It’s so real and reminds me of most writers while they are working, including me.

    Somewhere along the way didn’t we have a post about romance writers are supposed to be young and beautiful ? lol. We are beautiful– we are the smart people too!

  5. Colleen Love

    What a lovely photo of you!!

    Writing in the bathrobe, check! Pile of Dove chocolates, check! Glasses on, check! hehe
    I like to get some writing done while the house is quiet in the morning too! Best way ever! :)

    I thought that was so lovely how Susan Boyle came out and swept up those votes! The look on Simon’s face… Priceless! She really deserved the votes she got. What a beautiful voice! :)


  6. Shelley Munro

    Leah – LOL – It’s a Saturday night here in NZ and hubby and I are watching a movie. I’m multi-tasking and reading a book at the same time.

    Do you know that I don’t own a robe? I always roll from bed and dress straight away. The habit of years.

    Amy – you should post a picture. I bet you look beautiufl.

    Lucinda – thanks. I instructed hubby not to come too close so you can’t pick up the freckles and smile lines.

    I’d forgotten about Romancing the Stone and the start of the movie. I love that movie. We have it somewhere. I must dig it out and watch it again.

  7. Shelley Munro

    Kaye – thanks! I agree – we’re all beautiful and smart. You have to be smart in this business.

    Colleen – thanks. The photo didn’t turn out too bad. The look on Simon Cowell’s face was priceless. I see a bright future in front of Susan Boyle. She’s a household name around the world now.

  8. Jennifer Colgan

    The part about chocolate is true. I don’t have a pink bathrobe, but I do my best writing in my pajamas. The stereotype that amazes me most is the one that assumes all writers are making oodles of money and that we can get book contracts for other people because we now have mysterious ‘ins’ with all our publishers.

    The Susan Boyle video is awesome! First because it’s a joy just to watch Simon Cowell be proven wrong! LOL and secondly because it challenges societies mistaken belief that talent only comes in perfect, skinny, pretty packages.

  9. julia

    Great picture, Shelley! Your second office looks extremely comfy. Thanks for the bit about my photo – I’m looking at my honey, so he brings out my glowing side. I laughed when I got the tag, because I never wear makeup or do anything to my hair anyway. I’m as keeping-it-real as you can get!

    Simon’s look of disbelief followed by the miracle-of-it-all was priceless. I avoid watching him in general because of his nasty side – there are so many ways to let someone know you didn’t care for their performance without being a jerk about it. However, that look on his face revealed the part of Simon that wants to be swept away by a Susan Boyle. After all of the hundreds of William Hung’s he’s had to sit and listen to, Simon and the other judges have a different sort of track record when coming to first impressions.

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